Like many others, I find having a clear goal to work towards the best motivation there is. I have my planned events for this year’s fundraising challenge, and throughout the first 3 months of this year I have also been taking part in Jantastic. The final two weeks of Jantastic may not have gone my way, but I’ve really enjoyed the evolving targets that formed the challenge as well as the community spirit (and competition!) involved. With Jantastic finishing this weekend, I was looking for something else to help motivate me throughout the next few weeks. Enter 5×50…
5×50 came about in 2012 after a group of friends took on a running streak inspired by the now annual Marcothon. Their enjoyment of this was shared with others, eventually resulting in around 5000 participants from 43 countries taking part in the first official challenge in September 2012 with the common goal of getting people fit and active. Collectively they raised £75,000 for charity and in the years since over 15,000 people have taken part and raised over £210,000 for charity.
If truth be told, I have come across this challenge before, however in previous years the requirement has been to cover 5k per day for 50 days. For me, this was never really an option as it came at a time of year when I would be tapering towards and resting after a marathon. But as the challenge continues to evolve and take account of feedback, this year it requires either 5k per day (e.g. running, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, etc) or 30 minutes of activity per day (any of the previously noted activities plus exercise classes, etc, so basically anything that gets you moving). Even in my post-marathon recovery I’m likely to want to walk or swim for a short time, so this is a much more achievable goal for me this year.
I know others who have taken part in this challenge before and from what I’ve heard it definitely lives up to its aim of getting the inactive active and the fit even fitter over the course of the 50 days. It’s open to all ages and fitness levels, with the simple commitment of just 30 minutes of activity every day for 50 days and can be taken on as an individual, group or team. Since it takes around 21 days to make (or break) a habit and we are constantly surrounded by news stories telling us that our sedentary lifestyles are putting us at risk of ill-health, what better way to get people moving and make sport a bigger part of everyone’s lives? After 50 days participants should be feeling fitter and creating a positive habit to maintain a healthier lifestyle. And like Jantastic, there is support via the event website and social media where participants can encourage each other to keep going and provide help and advice throughout the challenge. It might even stimulate a bit of healthy competition!
Another attraction for me is the fact that 5×50 is a charity event, something else it has in common with Jantastic. Previously, organisers have partnered with Comic Relief/Sport Relief, however this year they have decided to support 5 charities: Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, CHILDREN 1ST, SAMH, Guide Dogs and my own chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. Participants pay a minimum £5 donation to sign up then have the option to create a fundraising page to raise money for one of the aforementioned partner charities (or another cause close to their hearts). Every penny raised will be split equally between the 5 charities and can make a massive difference to the lives of others:
- £5 could pay for 9 copies of The Cancer Guide. This Macmillan booklet can help someone recently diagnosed with cancer, and their families, understand more about cancer, its treatment, and the help available.
- Every £5 spent on the Macmillan benefits advice services helps people affected by cancer claim £95 in benefits they are entitled to.
- Every £5 spent on the Macmillan phone service could lead to cancer support specialists helping people affected by cancer claim £165 in benefits they are entitled to.
So its fifty days to fitness, friendship and the feel-good factor of doing something to help others. Fantastic!
Fancy joining in? Then there’s still time to sign up here, but hurry – the challenge kicks off tomorrow (29th March)!
Have you taken part in 5×50 before or are you going to take part this year?
Have you come across any similar challenge events?