2.6 Challenge raises £10m

Set up to make up for the shortfall in charitable fundraising caused by the postponement of the London Marathon, the challenge will benefit almost 4,000 charities

The event set up to raise funds for charities after the postponement of the London Marathon has brought in more than £10m.

The 2.6 Challenge, which invited people to undertake a fundraising activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26, raised funds for almost 4,000 charities, which organisers said was a record for the largest collective fundraising effort in the UK.

It was set up to “save the UK’s charities” after the postponement of the marathon – which raised £66.4m for good causes last year – amid predictions that the voluntary sector would lose more than £4bn in income over a three-month period because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The challenge, which was organised in just over three weeks by a group of mass-participation sports event organisers, began on 26 April, the day the London Marathon was due to take place.

The actor and author 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 were among the many famous names to take part in the challenge.

The Mass Participation Sports Organisers group was formed last year to create and introduce sustainable practices in large-scale sporting events in the UK and includes parkrun, London Marathon Events, Virgin Sport and London Landmarks.

Hugh Brasher, co-chair of the group and event director of London Marathon Events, said the challenge had been an extraordinary success.

“The first virtual meeting about the 2.6 Challenge took place on 3 April and just over five weeks later the campaign has enabled this record number of charities to work together to fundraise more than £10m. This is an entirely new model for fundraising.”

Organisers said the Queen had sent a message of congratulations to Sir John Spurling, chair of London Marathon Events. 

The 2.6 Challenge was supported by voluntary sector bodies including the Charities Aid Foundation, the Small Charities Coalition and the Institute of Fundraising.

The rescheduled London Marathon is due to take place on 4 October, although there is doubt about whether charity runners will be able to take part.

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