Five weird and wonderful charity fitness challenges to sign up for this year

Why raise just your heart rate when you can raise money for a great cause, too?

charity fitness challenges

Why raise just your heart rate when you can raise money for a great cause, too?

So many people in the UK need our help right now. In 2019 alone, 28,00  slept on the streets as a result of our housing crisis. Brutal cuts to the NHS last year also mean that record numbers of patients are not receiving vital cancer care on time, and our mental health services have been pushed to breaking point.

When we consider all the worthy causes that need attention and the different ways we can help, it can often feel stifling. But it doesn’t have to be - in fact, helping can be as simple as dusting off our old trainers and getting our sweat on. As we step into spring, there’s tons of fitness challenges to get involved in that will help us make a difference this year.

From running up a 42 storey tower, to open water swimming and off-road biking, these challenges serve as the perfect way to place a spotlight on an issue you're passionate about. We’ve picked our top five, so all there’s left to do is sign up, raise the cash and show up…

1. Shelter Vertical Rush

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Where: Tower 42, London

When: 12th March

What: 42 floor tower-running challenge

Shelter's annual event sees over 1,000 runners scale London's iconic Tower 42 to raise funds for everyone struggling with bad housing and homelessness. The average runner can complete the challenge in 10 minutes, which is also the shocking amount of time it takes for a new family to be made homeless in Britain every single day. Once you get to the top of the building's 932 steps, you can take in the sights of the city and feel content that the money raised will help deliver real change.

Sign up here

2. The Moonwalk London

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Where: Clapham Common

When: 16th May

What: Night walk through London

Now hitting its 15th year, the Moonwalk encourages women to take to the streets together wearing decorative bras to raise money for breast cancer research. Walkers can opt to do the Half Moon at 15.1 miles or the Full Moon at 26.2 miles. This year's theme is 'Out of this world', so throw on spacey outfit and get ready to get intergalactic.

Sign up here

3. Quest Wales

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Where: Snowdonia National Park

When: 20th June

What: Running/cycling/kayaking

This one-day event will have racers mastering the art of running, cycling and kayaking through the scenic routes of Wales' most stunning national park. Don't let the triathlon part scare you off, as organisers say that if you can run a 10k then you can complete this course no sweat. Pick a charity of your choice and get training.

Sign up here

4. Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine

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Where: The Serpentine, Hyde Park, London

When: 26th September

What: Open water swim

Swim Serpentine is an annual one-day open swimming festival to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK. Staged in Hyde Park's Serpentine lake, swimmers can opt to do a half-mile, one-mile or two-mile swim.

Sign up here

5. BHF London to Brighton Off-Road Bike Ride

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Where: London to Brighton

When: 5th September 2020

What: 75 mile bike ride

Participating in this off-road bike adventure will not only have you taking in beautiful scenes on the road from London to Brighton, but you'll also be raising money to help the British Heart Foundation beat heart and circulatory disease. Offering a variation of steep forest inclines, to tricky technical descents and adrenaline pumping single tracks, the route has something on offer for cyclists of all abilities.

Sign up here

Niamh McCollum

Niamh McCollum is Features Assistant at Marie Claire UK, and specialises in entertainment, female empowerment, mental health, social development and careers. Tackling both news and features, she's covered everything from the rise of feminist audio porn platforms to the latest campaigns protecting human rights.

Niamh has also contributed to our Women Who Win series by interviewing ridiculously inspiring females, including forensic scientist Ruth Morgan, Labour MP Stella Creasy and ITV’s former Home Affairs Editor Jennifer Nadel.

Niamh studied Law in Trinity College Dublin. It was after enrolling in a Law & Literature class on her year abroad in Toronto that her love of writing was reignited. In no particular order, her big likes are Caleb Followill, hoops, red wine, sea swimming, shakshuka and long train journeys.