Here's how the London Marathon and other events aim to raise £4bn for charities - and how to join in

A new charity challenge aimed to pick up the slack from cancelled events like the London Marathon is set to begin in a little over a week.

"The 2.6 Challenge is a simple way for people of all ages and abilities to help save the UK’s charities on Sunday 26 April," say the event's organisers.

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"Your challenge could be as simple as pledging to run 2.6 miles as your daily exercise to doing 26 minutes of juggling non-stop."

Here's everything you need to know about it

What is the 2.6 Challenge?

The coronavirus has taken its toll on just about every aspect of everyday life.

That includes the cancellation of thousands of sporting events, many of which would have seen public participation in an effort to raise funds for charities of their choosing.

That means that charitable sectors are going to take a significant hit in the wake of the virus; the UK charity sector estimates it will lose £4 billion in income as a result of the pandemic.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic effect with the cancellation of thousands of events and the loss of billions in income through fundraising events," say the organisers behind the 2.6 Challenge.

Many of these charities have had to reduce or stop services at a time when vulnerable members of society need them most; thousands of staff have been placed on furlough and many charities will not survive the next few months.

The 2.6 Challenge is a way for people to still raise valuable funds for charitable causes, and begins on Sunday 26 April, the day when the London Marathon should have taken place.

The London Marathon is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, which raised more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019; without the 2.6 Challenge, none of that cash would have been raised for charities in 2020.

How do I take part?

From Sunday 26 April, the day on which the London Marathon was due to have taken place, join the rest of the UK for The 2.6  Challenge.

"The 2.6 Challenge can be any activity you like," say the organisers, "from running 2.6 miles to holding an online workout with 26 of your friends."

More ideas on what you could do as part of the 2.6 Challenge can be found on the event's official website.

"Whatever your age or ability, you can take part. After all, we’re not looking for superheroes. We’re looking for Home Heroes."

Once you're settled on what you want to do for your own 2.6 Challenge, head to the website for more information on how to support your chosen charity.

Coronavirus: The Facts

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus and is spread primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

What are the symptoms? 

The NHS states that you should not leave the home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Don’t go to your GP but instead look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

What precautions can be taken?

Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.

When can I go outside?

The Government has put the UK into lockdown and instructed everyone to stay at home. You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

However, these reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.