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The 2.6 Challenge: Saving the UK’s Charities

 

The 2.6 Challenge campaign to save the UK’s charities was created from scratch in only three weeks in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on fundraising. Organisers from the country’s biggest mass-participation sports events (MSO), alongside agencies LiveWire Sport and Studio Republic, joined forces to devise and deliver a pro bono campaign, with the core objective of raising and distributing funds to the UK’s charities.

 

The narrative – centred around the numbers 2 and 6, the denomination of the marathon distance and the date of the Virgin Money London Marathon (26 April) – empowered everyone to create their own challenges, making the campaign inclusive to all. From there, the 2.6 Challenge was fuelled by the imagination, creativity and generosity of the British public.

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The campaign was driven through social media, with LiveWire Sport ‘renting’ the London Marathon channels to boost awareness, reach and amplification. The platforms told the stories of ordinary people and their extraordinary challenges, all within the restrictions of lockdown and social distancing. Participants ran, swam, walked, baked, raced, bounced, hopped, skipped and jumped their way to a variety of 2.6 challenges. Inspiration came from individuals like ‘Henry the Brave’, a five-year-old boy with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma who completed 26 different challenges that ended with a reply from Hugh Grant, to Haroon, who ran 260km during Ramadan while fasting!

 

Celebrities also got involved, with sportsmen and women like Gareth Bale, Kevin Pietersen, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Eliud Kipchoge and Jonny Wilkinson submitting their challenges, alongside celebrities such as Rod Stewart, Poppy Delevingne, Damian Lewis, Mel C and Mark Ronson, with hundreds of UK media outlets covering the progress, as well as its own segment on Comic Relief’s The Big Night In on BBC.

 

Most importantly though, the campaign raised over £11m (and counting!) through fundraising and donations.