London Landmarks Half Marathon has launched a virtual event to encourage runners to fundraise, even though the physical event has been postponed because of coronavirus.
The half marathon was due to take place on 29 March and 14,000 runners were due to participate with the target of raising £8.5m for charity.
The organisers are looking to hold the event at a later date, but in the meanwhile, they have announced the Local Landmarks Challenge.
Runners are asked to identify their own local landmark, run a 5k, a 10k or a half marathon around it and raise money for charity.
They have time until 3 May to complete the challenge. Anyone can participate, even if they could not secure a ticket for the main event, by registering online.
Some 70,000 runners originally entered the ballot for the physical event. Participants who do not already have a ticket are charged a £12 fee and everyone who completed the challenge will receive a medal at the end.
Organisers have asked participant to run the challenge solo and not in groups to respect government’s advice on social distancing.
‘Physical and mental wellbeing benefits’
Lia Fyles, race director of London Landmarks Half Marathon, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response of our runners, our loyal Yellow Army, to the event not going ahead as planned on the 29 March. They have all trained and fundraised so hard in preparation and many are continuing to do so. We may not all be able to run together on the 29 March, but what their response has shown is that the running community has the power to make a huge difference for many charities, as we individually take to our local streets and run our personal Local Landmarks Challenge.
“Current public health advice is that people are able to run solo outside, and people are encouraged to keep exercising regularly. We hope the Local Landmarks Challenge will help provide both physical and mental wellbeing benefits. In a time of great uncertainty and increased isolation, we hope this will be a great way for people to support each other and feel connected virtually. If current Public Health guidelines change, the challenge will naturally be paused and only re-opened once it’s safe to do so.”
BBC to host live fundraising events during crisis
With the vast majority of fundraising events being cancelled, including the London Marathon, and public fundraising activities having to stop, charities are facing significant income shortages. Some are launching emergency appeals and many are looking to do more digital fundraising and virtual events.
On Wednesday, the BBC announced its plan to “inform, educate and entertain during unprecedented times”.
Among many other pledges, the statement also says: “We will aim to create live fundraising events, to raise money for coronavirus good causes”.
Development charity Child.org, which announced earlier this week it was forced to cut its staff’s working hours and salary, is moving its Harry Potter quiz online and will be live streaming it tomorrow at 6pm.