2.6 Challenge passes the £6.4m mark

The event began yesterday, when the London Marathon would have been run, but the money raised so far is a fraction of that raised by the marathon alone

Francis Benali ran a marathon on a treadmill (Photograph: Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

The 2.6 Challenge, set up to “save UK charities” because of the income they will lose because of cancelled fundraising events such as the London Marathon, has raised more than £6.4m so far.

The event, which began yesterday, the day the London Marathon was due to take place before it was postponed until October, asked people to take on fundraising challenges of their own around the numbers 2.6 or 26. 

Famous names including Stephen Fry, the footballer Gareth Bale, the former rugby union star Jonny Wilkinson, the former athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, the former cricketer Shane Warne and the former heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill all took on challenges of their own over the weekend.

The former footballer Francis Benali raised more than £14,000 for the Saints Foundation and NHS Charities Together by completing a marathon on a treadmill in his back garden.

Third Sector’s own Rebecca Cooney challenged herself to dress up in 26 different fancy dress costumes as chosen by those who sponsored her, raising more than £1,200 for Refuge and the National Emergencies Trust.

But the sums raised so far are a fraction of the more than £60m that is raised for good causes through the London Marathon alone, and its race director admitted last week that charity runners might not be able to take part in the postponed race in October.

The 2.6 Challenge was put together by a group of sports events companies including London Marathon Events, supported by charities including the Small Charities Coalition, the Institute of Fundraising and the Charities Aid Foundation.

Hugh Brasher, event director of London Marathon Events, said: “The response we have had to The 2.6 Challenge has been 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.

“It’s important to say that Sunday 26 April was just the start of the campaign and we want to encourage people who haven’t already taken part to think of a challenge and give it a go.”

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