Portsmouth students aim to run 10000km in seven days to raise funds for the NHS

Bottom half of legs in grey running shoes running up steps.

The initiative includes 430 participants spread across the country running thousands of kilometres around their homes

  • 22 April 2020
  • 3 min read

Students from 20 of the University of Portsmouth’s sports clubs and societies are hoping to run 10,000km to raise money for the NHS.

Originally the idea of the netball team, the initiative now includes 430 participants spread across the country running thousands of kilometres around their homes.

Geography student and Media Secretary for the netball team, Eleanor Smith, 21, set up the challenge. She said: “Many people have friends and family working in the NHS on the frontline fighting coronavirus. We wanted to raise money for the NHS, which is vitally important at the moment.”

Group photo of the netball team.

The Netball team [picture taken before coronavirus lockdown and social distancing measures].

The initial idea came about after Louise Buller, Netball team President, saw the University of Southampton netball team were looking to raise money by running a collective total of 1,000km in seven days. Not wanting to be beaten by their nearest rivals, the Portsmouth netball students decided they would go one kilometre better. The challenge has now spiralled to potentially 10,000km in seven days.

Eleanor, who is currently living in Southsea, added: “Once all the other teams got involved they set their own distance targets which in total came to 7,516km. This ranged from 100km for some teams up to 1,600km for the Athletics Club.

“This is a great way to work off that Easter chocolate as well as keeping fit during times when normal training sessions cannot take place. It's also a way to make use of our one daily exercise activity.”

Many people have friends and family working in the NHS on the frontline fighting coronavirus. We wanted to raise money for the NHS, which is vitally important at the moment.

Eleanor Smith, Geography student and Media Secretary for the netball team

Several clubs have reached and exceeded their targets with many getting very close to theirs. Students are still pushing themselves and recording distances in order to contribute to the 10,000km target, as well as seeing how far their clubs can go.

With one day to go, the students have run over 9,600km and are now within reach of 10,000km. The students have already exceeded their fundraising target, raising over £2,800.

Eleanor feels the speed and volume of support is indicative of how the University and wider community have come together to fight the disease. She said: “As soon as I put forward the idea the rapid response from other clubs and the enthusiasm to get involved just shows how the University community has pulled together to support this fantastic cause.

“While we can no longer see each other in person it’s such a good way to get people together for a common cause.”

The running challenge was launched on Wednesday 15 April and is due to finish on Wednesday 22 April.

You can donate money to support the cause on the JustGiving page.

Day 7 update –

The students ran a total of 12,160.1km, with the Athletics Club running the furthest, racking up a total distance of 2,326.83km. The fundraising total at the end of the seven days was £3,655, 182 per cent more than the original £2,000 target.

Eleanor said: “Congratulations to everyone involved and a massive thank you to everyone who participated. Without the enthusiasm of every club and their members, there would not have been the response there has been and the volume of people taking part.

“Another massive thank you to everyone who shared the JustGiving page and donated. With many people having friends or family in the NHS, it is even more close to home. By raising this amazing sum, it will hopefully further support the NHS working on the front line during the current situation.”

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