London Marathon Events, The Great Run Company, Human Race and parkrun help create campaign to support charities during coronavirus pandemic

Organisers of the biggest mass-participation sports events across the UK have come together to create a new campaign to raise vital funds to help the country’s charities during the coronavirus outbreak.

Thousands of fundraising events have been cancelled due to Covid-19, with National Council for Voluntary Organisations CEO Karl Wilding estimating that the UK charity sector will lose £4 billion in income as a result of the pandemic.

The campaign, named The 2.6 Challenge, will launch on April 26, the original date of the 40th edition London Marathon – the world’s biggest one-day annual fundraising event which raised £66.4 million for charities in 2019.

From April 26, organisers are encouraging people to take on an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to Save the UK’s Charities via twopointsixchallenge.co.uk.

The 2.6 Challenge is open to anyone of any age, the only requirement is that the activity must follow the Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

“The 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you,” says Nick Rusling, co-chair of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers (MSO) group and CEO of Human Race.

“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.

“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.”

Hugh Brasher, co-chair of MSO and event director of London Marathon Events, adds: “For many of the UK’s charities, the day of the London Marathon is the biggest fundraising day of the year.

“One of the founding pillars of the London Marathon was ‘to show how the family of mankind can be united’. We hope that The 2.6 Challenge, which starts on the day our 40th race should have taken place, will embody that spirit and inspire people, families and communities to fundraise for their chosen charity to help Save the UK’s Charities.

“Right now, our vulnerable members of society need the help of charities more than ever before. We are asking everyone to create a 2.6 Challenge of their own and raise funds or pledge a donation.”

Paul Foster, chief executive at The Great Run Company, says: “The 2.6 Challenge is an excellent opportunity for all of us, and our network of amazing runners and partners from around the UK, to do something to help the incredible UK charity sector at this challenging time.

“The spirit of the Great North Run is about achieving great things together. While we can’t be together right now, we can still join together virtually and support this great cause.

“By taking part in The 2.6 Challenge, whether it be through running 2.6 miles, kms, or minutes, whatever challenge big or small – we can all support charities who need our support now more than ever due to the fundraising they are missing out on with as many large events cancelled.

“We know our runners put in a lot of time, training and fundraising to participate in our events and we encourage everyone to take part in The 2.6 Challenge to help raise important funds for the UK charity sector.”

The mass-participation events organisers behind The 2.6 Challenge are Human Race, parkrun, The Great Run Company, Run 4 Wales, Grounded Events, London Landmarks, Virgin Sport, Limelight Sports, Threshold Sports, Running High and London Marathon Events.

Visit twopointsixchallenge.co.uk to find out more.

The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon is now set to take place on October 4. Find other event postponements and cancellations listed here.

» For more on the latest athletics news, athletics events coverage and athletics updates, check out the AW homepage and our social media channels on TwitterFacebook and Instagram