With hundreds of charities and supporters across the country set to take part in the 2.6 Challenge this weekend, Civil Society looked at the challenges that have already been registered and are especially creative or have been proving most successful so far.
The 2.6 Challenge has been set up by the main mass-participation event organisers in the UK. The event is scheduled for Sunday 26 April, on the day the London Marathon should have taken place, and aims to raise £67m to support UK charities through the crisis.
Supporters are encouraged to set their own challenge, take part in any activity involving the number 2.6 or 26, and donate or fundraise for a charity of their choice.
According to its website, the 2.6 Challenge has raised about £1.6m so far.
Most supporters are participating through some kind of physical activity: running, cycling, walking, either outside or in their gardens or balconies.
Five-year-old Henry is among them. He is running a marathon over 10 days (2.6 miles a day) and has already raised £3,000 for children charity 2 Wish Upon A Star.
Outlander actress Caitriona Balfe is running 2.6 miles on Sunday for World Child Cancer, the charity she is patron of. But she is also taking on 12 surprise challenges suggested by fans, one of which is drawing 26 portraits of Outlander characters. She has raised over £24,000 so far.
Among the participants is also a recovered Covid-19 patient, Alexander Serge Lourie, who will be walking 2.6 miles despite having recently had the disease. He is raising money for Kingston Hospital Charity after the hospital took care of him.
“I have run five marathons but this is a greater challenge after my serious illness. I had it very badly and had low levels of oxygen especially when I was in intensive care,” he wrote on his Just Giving Page. “Fortunately, I think I am recovering, and would like to thank the ambulance team and the staff at Kingston Hospital for saving my life.”
He has raised more than £6,000 so far.
Cooking, gardening, reading
For people who are not really the active type, creative ideas for the challenge include spending the day in the kitchen, for example baking 26 cakes.
Sonya Chowdhury, chief executive of Action for M.E, is combining the two: she is aiming to cook 142 curries and walk 2.6 miles to deliver them to people in her community on Tuesday 28 April. She has raised almost £6,000 so far and has an ambitious target of £26,000.
Charities are interpreting the challenge in a range of ways that can resonate with their supporters and causes.
The Royal Life Saving Society is aiming to raise £26,000 by getting 104 people to participate in a 15-minute compression only CPR slot.
The Royal Horticultural Society has a list of 26 gardening activities to suggest, including “giving your wildlife a bath” and “creating a green feature wall”.
Finally, NSPCC’s pretty creative list of 2.6 Challenge fundraising activities includes live streaming 26 karaoke songs, reading 26 books in 26 days and completing 26 puzzles.
“The 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you,” said Nick Rusling, co-chair of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers group (MSO) 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.”