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Trainers on for charity

Sport Wales is backing the 2.6 challenge to get moving while boosting charities who really need support right now. 

From well-known sports stars to children and families, people across the country are doing their bit.

While everyone should be sensible when keeping active (see our guidelines), some are more used to big challenges than others.

Former Wales rugby captain Ryan Jones – now the Welsh Rugby Union’s performance director – has had a busy lockdown. He’s already run a full 26-mile marathon in his back garden and clocked up 100 miles on his Wattbike, parked up on the patio. 

Now, he’s moving indoors for his biggest challenge so far, in order to raise funds for charities that are supporting NHS employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

No stranger to intense exercise, on Friday afternoon (April 24) the 39-year-old will challenge himself by running 100 miles on a treadmill – almost four continuous marathons.


Even if he ran steady 10-minute miles without any sort of rest period, that would take well over 16 hours.

So, the plan is to take five-minute breaks every 55 minutes or so, in order to drink, eat, visit the loo, change his running gear, or even grab a power nap as he powers on deep into the weekend. 

So far he has raised an impressive £47,000 and is looking to Friday to go well past past the £50,000 mark.

Add in the £350,000 Geraint Thomas generated during his 36-hour garage bike ride, the hand-crafted lego men raffled by Welsh football referee Bryn Markham-Jones, and the cash being raised by Newport fitness instructor Diana Hopkins and her group, then the totals raised by those in Welsh sport are piling up. 

Then, there are the £20,000 contributions donated by Wales and Juventus star Aaron Ramsey, the bike rides planned by former rugby stars Shane Williams and Jonathan Davies, plus the £35,000 – and rising – achieved by 91-year-old Ceredigion farmer Rhythwyn Evans for walking around his garden 91 times, inspired by the godfather of current fundraisers, Captain Tom Moore.

The Welsh efforts don’t end there, either. 

Many people are expected to take part in this Sunday’s 2.6 Challenge – - an opportunity to raise valuable funds for charitable causes that are being starved of their normal income.

The 2.6 Challenge starts on Sunday 26 April, the day when the London Marathon should have taken place, and it aims to encourage anyone, of all fitness levels, to do an activity suitable for them and raise funds to help raise cash for charities who are losing out.

The London Marathon is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, which raised more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019. 

While Jones’ challenge comes with a ‘don’t try this at home’ warning (unless you are super fit), there’s a way for everyone to move at their own pace and raise funds. 

Jones’ efforts are helping fund “wobble rooms” for NHS staff, where they can take a break from the stresses of front line duty. 

If you’re not able to take part in the 2.6 challenge, here’s how you can back the Welsh rugby legend instead -

The triple Grand Slam winner scaled plenty of heights during his playing career and has completed gruelling ultra marathons. 

“It’s a long way, 100 miles,” he says. “But I’m not in bad shape and I’m still competitive and determined to succeed.

“This is me against me and every time I do these kinds of challenges I learn a little bit more about myself.

“I have a friend, Gareth Jones, who’s a physiologist, and he’s been helping me come up with a workable plan.”

That will involve starting at 1.00pm on Friday afternoon. Five of his mates plan to do 20 miles each from their own homes

He adds: “I’ve wanted to play my part and the most humbling thing for me was when a nurse knocked on my door during the garden marathon and thanked me for what I was doing.

“As awful as this situation has been, it’s also been heart-warming how people have responded and come together.

“The reaction to Captain Tom has been incredible. People will be talking about that for years to come and it shows that sometimes the worst of times can bring out the best in people.”

To take part in the 2.6 challenge from Sunday, visit here.

For more information about the #BeActiveWales campaign and how to keep active responsibly, visit here

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