In a year when hundreds of running and walking events have been cancelled across the country, we're inviting people to reclaim their lost miles.
The charity is organising its second virtual mileage challenge, dubbed Going the Distance 2.0. The first online event took place in June, with nearly 100,000 miles clocked up by supporters throughout the month.
Now we're encouraging people to take part in our second event, which aims to recognise and reclaim the 5,088 “lost miles” that would have ordinarily been covered in support of the organisation this year.
Finance and fundraising coordinator Carly Munro said: “In a normal year, hundreds of people would be pounding the pavements for Friends of ANCHOR, or hitting the trails by foot or bike in their red T-shirts, but with events postponed or cancelled throughout the summer, there are hundreds of race entries that remain unfulfilled for 2020.
“Going the Distance 2.0 is about reclaiming those miles – not just for the people who would have taken on events, but for anyone who is feeling a sense that they have their own personal lost miles that they want to reclaim.
“For some, that might be setting a goal like one mile for every day they or a loved one spent shielding, or the number of miles they covered on that first visit to see far-flung family when the lockdown lifted. Some of our participants in June ran in memory of a loved one, and for some people, there’s no reason other than getting outside to enjoy some fresh air and a change of scenery. Everyone is welcome, and as the city centre comes out of local lockdown, we hope the event will also provide a much-needed boost as we begin to carefully rediscover the beauty on our doorstep.”
More than 650 people took part in the June event and now the charity hopes people will feel inspired to sign up and become part of the “buzzing” online community that accompanies the challenge.
Carly added: “We were inspired by the enthusiasm, commitment and engagement we saw from everyone who took part [in June] – we had hundreds of people spurring one another on in our Facebook and Strava groups, celebrating the little wins together and commiserating over the ankle sprains, the punctures and the downpours, really just motivating each other to keep it up.
“It brought a whole new sense of purpose and excitement to those daily outings, so for anyone looking for a boost or a new approach to their fitness regime, we would encourage you to get involved. The challenge also went international, with people getting involved from Switzerland, Spain, Texas, Dubai, Dublin and Iraq – proving that geography is no limit.”
With the challenge beginning on September 1 (Tuesday), the charity is calling for participants of all ages, abilities and fitness levels, to walk, run, cycle, skate or even scoot to help them reach the 5,088 mile target.
The target includes all the miles that would have been covered by the charity’s supporters this year, including 288 Intellicore Red Run participants, 38 Kiltwalkers, 11 Loch Ness marathon runners, and 17 Ride the North cyclists, among many others.
Primary school teacher Kerry Reith took part in June with 20 colleagues from Kirkhill School. She said: “Going the Distance was not only great for Friends of ANCHOR’s awareness and fundraising efforts – it was also brilliant for all of us taking part. I often find myself working silly hours at a laptop and instead of sitting down at the end of my day with chocolate or crisps and the TV on, I was getting on my trainers and walking in all weathers. It was a great boost to my wellbeing, and I’ve kept up the good habits.”
For anyone seeking inspiration before signing up, the charity has published a ‘Lost Miles List’ to help participants set a target that may have personal meaning for them.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Friends of ANCHOR’s annual income is 60% down on the same time period last year. Throughout the months of lockdown and restrictions, the charity has continued to support ANCHOR patients and staff wherever the need lies, “with a good measure of adaptability in there too”, says charity director Sarah-Jane Hogg.
Sarah added: “We have approved more than £124,000 in equipment funding to help transform patient treatment and care, and we’ve channelled £15,000 into crucial Covid-19 research. We provided over 4,000 nutritious lunches for key workers in the Unit, and we part-funded 424 nights of accommodation to directly support patients travelling to ARI for essential treatment with further monthly financial commitments for the direct benefit of patients continuing too.
“None of this would have been possible without the support we’ve had from our donors and the people of the North-east.”
Friends of ANCHOR’s operational costs are fully covered by local company Balmoral Group, as they have been since the charity was founded in 1997 – meaning 100% of any donations raised will go directly to the cause.
The charity is suggesting a donation of £10 per person or £20 per household to get involved with the campaign, while those who took part in June and actively fundraised for the charity will be gifted their place, as a small token of appreciation for their support. Virtual squads from multiple households are encouraged to take part. Participants will be given a mileage calendar to track their progress and will have access to a dedicated online community where they will be encouraged to share stories and photos.
To sign up, click here