If your training was in full swing and you had started getting your head in the game for the London Marathon, then the announcement that this year’s running extravaganza would be postponed until October probably came as a huge blow. But UK charities who depend on participants’ sponsorship money for support are suffering an even bigger setback from the postponement of 2020’s race. The London Marathon is in fact the world’s biggest one-day annual charity event – and last year it raised more than £66 million in donations.
To help save UK charities during this tough time, the London Marathon and organisers of other mass-participation sports events, including Parkrun and the London Landmarks race, have come together to create The 2.6 Challenge, which is happening this weekend in lieu of the actual race.
On Sunday April 26, the day that should have marked the fortieth edition of the marathon, the challenge is asking the public to create a sporting activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 to raise money for a charity of their choice.
‘You can run or walk 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes. You could do the same in your home or garden, go up and down the stairs 26 times, juggle for 2.6 minutes, do a 26 minute exercise class or get 26 people on a video call and do a 26 minute workout – anything you like,’ said Nick Rusling, co-chair of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers group (MSO) and CEO of Human Race. ‘We want people to get active, have fun and raise money to help Save the UK’s Charities by giving money or raising funds for the charity close to your heart.’
Participants include some famous faces, too: Stephen Fry is bouncing a ball on a cricket bat 26 times, Jessica Ennis Hill has been doing the same with a cheese grater and a ping pong ball (seriously), and Clare Balding has been shaking her dog’s paw 26 times.
Meanwhile, some Londoners are attempting some slightly more physical feats from home, including a woman swimming 2.6km in her paddling pool to raise money for London Air Ambulance.
This year’s Virgin Money London Marathon is now scheduled to take place on October 4, but in the meantime, we’ll stick to running 26 laps around our flat in a gorilla costume.
You can get involved in The 2.6 Challenge – or donate money – via twopointsixchallenge.co.uk.
Want to do your bit? Here’s how to help (and get help) in London during lockdown.
Keep up to date with the latest cancelled or postponed London events.