The 2.6 Challenge has raised about £6m for charities after launching this weekend.
Hundreds of charities took part and the total is expected to grow in the next few days as corporate donations come through.
When the idea was presented to charities, organisers said they wanted to raise £67m by the end of the month, which is about what the London Marathon would have raised (£66.4m in 2019).
The total includes public fundraisers linked to the campaign via Virgin Money Giving and JustGiving, but not what charities raised in other ways.
The 2.6 Challenge was launched earlier this month as part of a Save the UK Charities campaign by the Mass Participation Sports Organisers (MSO) group, which includes London Marathon Events and other event organisers in the UK.
Participants are encouraged to take part in any kind of activity in relation to the number 26 or 2.6, and fundraise or donate to a charity of their choice. The number was chosen because a marathon is 26.2 miles and because the 2020 London Marathon, which would have been in its 40th year, was scheduled for 26 April.
‘Just the start of the campaign’
Hugh Brasher, co-chair of MSO and event director of London Marathon Events, said: “The response we had to the first day of The 2.6 Challenge yesterday was incredible. It has been so inspiring to see the nation come together – from superstar celebrities to young children – to help save the UK’s charities.
“The best of Great Britain’s society shines through whenever we have our backs to the wall. People have been in their houses now for over a month and I think many of us feel helpless.
“While we understand the necessity to stay at home to save the NHS, many of us want to do something additional to help those in greatest need, and The 2.6 Challenge allows us to do that, to get active and to help save the UK’s charities.
“It’s important to say that yesterday was just the start of the campaign and we want to encourage people that haven’t already taken part to think of a challenge and give it a go.”
Some of the top fundraisers
Supporters from a range of charities took part in the event by undertaking different activities, both physical and not.
Some of the top fundraisers of the campaign are raising money for NHS Charities Together’s appeal to support NHS workers and volunteers during the coronavirus emergency, which has proven very successful with the public and is also the appeal that Captain Tom Moore has been fundraising for.
Dave Roscoe, who is planning development manager at Manchester City Council, raised more than £52,000 for the appeal by doing a fancy dress workout on YouTube.
Former football player Francis Benali raised more than £16,000 by running a marathon in his garden, half of which will go to NHS Charities Together, and the other half to the Saints Foundation.
Other successful fundraisers were by Ronnie Harris, vice-president of the Teenage Cancer Trust, who raised £21,000 for his charity, and Jonathan Davies, who is president of the Velindre NHS Trust, and who has also raised around £21,000 for his charity so far.