'Virtual relay' runners raise £13,500 for Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes

A 'virtual relay' by 90 runners raised an incredible £13,500 in one weekend for Willen Hospice
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Hospice bosses say they are overwhelmed by the response to the event, which was powered by energie Fitness.

The run was the charity’s first virtual event and comes in response to the need to find new ways to raise money due to Covid-19.

Held over 48 hours, it started at 8am on Friday 17 April and the final runner finished at the hospice, cheered on by nurses, at 8am on Sunday 19 April.

Runners communicated via ZoomRunners communicated via Zoom
Runners communicated via Zoom

Relay ‘legs’ were made up of either 20, 40 or 60 minute time slots and runners chose which they wanted to do.

Around 90 people took part, including some from afar. John, who is 71, was running along a beach in Thailand while 21-year-old Sophi ran her leg from the Sydney Opera

House in Australia.

The youngest was seven-year-old Hannah, who ran with her Mum in Towcester.

They passed a virtual batonThey passed a virtual baton
They passed a virtual baton

Thanks to Zoom, the runners were able to chat to the team and 'receive' the baton from the previous runner.

Tracey Jago, the hospice events manager, said: "It was brilliantly simple for everyone to do and meant that we could have runners from up and down the UK and even join us from around the world."

She added: "These are exceptionally challenging times for all charities, and we are no different. We are having to change and adapt both the way we deliver care and also the way we fundraise.

"When Rob Francis, and his team at energie Fitness based in Kiln Farm, approached us with the idea of running a 48 hour relay, with a virtualmbaton that could pass from person to person to keep the run going continuously, we were very excited."

Energie owner Rob said: " “We have loved supporting Willen Hospice since we set up our gym in Kiln Farm just over two years ago- we know that what they do for the Milton Keynes

community is so valuable. As a business we have been hit by enforced closure, but it hasn’t stopped us from continuing to provide fitness, health and wellbeing activities and programming for our amazing members.

"We have adapted to running interactive classes using Zoom meetings that we host, and this inspired us to create a virtual event for Willen Hospice. We were blown away by the response of both our members and the wider Milton Keynes community. I believe it is a reflection of how important Willen Hospice is to our city."

The hospice needs to raise £4.7m every year, which equates to £9 a minute. While the virtual relay raised a large amount of money in such a short space of time, it only pays for one day of care.

The hospice is urging people to follow them on social media or keep an eye on their website to see the other ways they can give support during these difficult times.

Donations for the relay run are still coming in. You can donate here

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