Cancer Research UK has launched a virtual version of Race For Life, after being forced to postpone the majority of its physical events until the autumn.
Race for Life at Home is encouraging people to exercise at home and support Cancer Research UK, either by joining one of its Facebook Live exercise routines, by setting their own home challenge or by going for a 5k or 10k run or walk.
The physical Race for Life usually features hundreds of events across the country, most of which are scheduled between May and July. Last year, more than 375,000 people took part in 416 events and raised £33m for the charity.
The virtual campaign is not looking to replace the physical events, but “it’s an initiative focused on raising awareness and encouraging people to stay active and united at home”, a spokesperson for the charity said.
Unlike with the physical events, taking part is free and there are no fundraising requirements. People can sign up directly on the campaign’s website.
The campaign’s tagline is: “Apart but still together. Join the Race for Life at Home.”
Race for Life at Home is organised in partnership with Tesco, and the campaign was developed together with creative agency Anomaly.
Postponing events 'will inevitably have an impact'
Sarah Pickersgill, head of Race for Life at Cancer Research UK, said: “We’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our Race for Life events until later in the year, and this will inevitably have an impact on Cancer Research UK’s ability to carry out life-saving research. While many of us may feel our lives have been put on hold, cancer hasn’t stopped, and people affected by cancer need our support more than ever.
“We wanted to do something to bring our fantastic community together and thank them for their ongoing patience and commitment, which is why we’re very excited to launch Race for Life at Home! Everyone who signs up can get creative and take part in whatever way they want.
“There is no challenge too great or small when it comes to Race for Life at Home. Whatever you do just remember to join in, have fun, stay safe and share your experience with the community online. There’s also an option to donate if you wish. We may be apart but we’re still in this together.”
Cancer Research UK, which is the biggest fundraising charity in the country and in 2018-19 raised £430m through donations and legacies, has been hit hard by the crisis. Last month it said it is expecting to lose about a quarter of its fundraising income this year. It also announced plans to furlough up to 1,800 staff and cut research funding by £44m.