It's fair to say that 2020 has not been the year any of us were expecting. COVID19 has completely dominated our lives causing heartbreak and hardship for so many. It's no surprise that almost all the events we'd signed up for in 2020 were cancelled, decisions we fully supported but it was nonetheless disappointing. However, the awful consequence of the cancellation of mass participation events has been the collapse in charity income. The cancellation of the London Marathon alone represented a loss of £66 million to charities.
Our 2020 schedule of challenges had included some new cycling and multi-discipline challenges to push us out of our comfort zones. In the absence of these events, we needed a worthy challenge to keep us motivated and hopefully raise funds for our charities, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Alzheimer's Research UK.
2020 in 2020: We decided to set ourselves the target of completing 2020 miles each by running or cycling. I'm delighted to say that I completed this distance at the end of November. Much to my surprise, the majority (over 1,100 miles to date) was completed the hard way, by running. This included a monthly half marathon distance run, making 10 in total for 2020. One of those was the Cambridge half marathon, which was one of the last mass participation events of the year, two were organised virtual runs (Star Wars half marathon and Great North Run) and the rest were unheralded long runs.
24-hour challenge: The toughest event of the year was a 24-hour challenge at the end of October, called the Phoenix24 with a twist. This required us to run a mile, on the hour, for 24 hours. The twist referred to the fact that the clocks went back during the event meaning we had to run an extra mile. It was an immensely tough challenge but appeared to capture people's imaginations as we received hugely generous sponsorship for our charities. During the 24-hour challenge I logged my 1000th running mile of the year, which was a virtual challenge. Since then we've been signing up to a number of virtual challenges to motivate us to get out and run.
I'm delighted to say that we smashed our fundraising target and I can't thank our friends and family enough for their generosity during exceptionally uncertain times. Both the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Alzheimer's Research UK are desperate for this support to continue their research to find a cure for these awful diseases and assist those people afflicted.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that even the greatest medical challenges, such as COVID19, can be overcome by the brilliance of scientific research, IF it's funded well enough.