Willen Hospice is thanking local runners who helped them raise over £10,000 over just one weekend, thanks to their second virtual 48 Hour Relay Run, organised in partnership with energie Fitness MK.

The Relay Run started at 8am on Friday 19 March and finished at 8am on Sunday 21 March. Relay ‘legs’ were made up of either 20, 40 or 60 minute time slots, and the virtual ‘baton’ wasn’t dropped once for the entire 48 Hours, with the energie Fitness team quickly running out the door if anyone missed their slot.

96 runners took part over the weekend, from all ages and backgrounds. There were people running in London, Glastonbury and even Australia! The highlights of the weekend included John, who ran his 60 minutes in a pink inflatable unicorn suit, being cheered on by nurses as he ran past the Hospice, and Roberta who ran to the vaccination centre to get her jab.

Tracey Jago, Events Manager said, “This past year has been an incredibly challenging for all charities, and we are no different. I’m sure no one thought we’d still be doing virtual events a year on, but our 48 Hour Relay Run has once again brought the community together and been great fun for a great cause. The event was held together by a Zoom call, manned by the energie Fitness owners, Rob and Claire, and their team, along with Hospice staff, who stayed online for the entire 48 Hours. Individual runners logged in ahead of their allocated run slot, ready to ‘receive’ the baton from the runner who was finishing their leg of the relay.

“All of the fundraising was amazing, but relay runner Chris Monaghan from MK Rugby Union Football Club, raised an incredible £1650, getting extra sponsorship by running in an England and Wales Rugby Shirt, despite being a devout Ireland supporter!

“Although we didn’t get much sleep, we had a fantastic time and it was a lovely way to meet people in our community – some of whom we recognised from last year.”

Rob Francis, owner of energie Fitness Milton Keynes, explains, “We always enjoy supporting Willen Hospice, and as we are in another lockdown, it just made sense to do the 48 Hour Relay Run again. As a business, we have been hit hard by continued enforced closures, but it hasn’t stopped us from providing fitness, health, wellbeing and even social activities and programming for our amazing members. We have a full programme of over 50 online classes each week run by our own fantastic Milton Keynes based instructors as well as teams from across our network. We have adapted to running interactive classes using Zoom meetings that we host, and this inspired us to create this virtual event for Willen Hospice last year.

“We were blown away by the response and had a great time. We hope we won’t be in another lockdown this time next year, but we’d love to do this event again – maybe even in person!”

Willen Hospice needs to raise £4.7million every year, that’s £9 a minute. While this event raised a phenomenal amount of money in such a short space of time, there is still more that needs to be raised to keep the charity’s doors open. Local people are urged to follow Willen Hospice on social media, or keep an eye on their website to see the other ways they can support the Hospice during these difficult times.