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Run For Heroes: What is Instagram’s new ‘Run 5 Donate 5 Nominate 5’ challenge?

The challenge has already raised nearly £2m for the NHS

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 14 April 2020 15:37 BST
Olivia Colman and Hugh Grant among stars to thank NHS for coronavirus fight

A new 5km running challenge has taken hold on Instagram in a bid to raise millions of pounds for the NHS, spreading faster than any viral charity campaign since ice-buckets flooded Facebook in 2014 to raise awareness of motor neurone disease.

The ‘Run 5 Donate 5 Nominate 5’ challenge calls on people in the UK and all over the world to walk or run 5km, donate £5 to the NHS and tag five friends to do likewise.

The fundraiser, originally called Run for Heroes, began in Edinburgh and has had a rapidly multiplying effect, helped on its way by several famous faces, with at least 100,000 people taking part across the globe over the past two weeks.

How did it start?

The challenge was created on 28 March by 27-year-old Olivia Strong, who set up the Run For Heroes Instagram account which has 33,000 followers and counting and reposts some of those taking part.

“I was out running and I saw how many people were also out running,” Strong told Pure Radio. ”I thought: surely there’s something in this? Surely we can put this to a cause. I thought if people can afford to give £5, it’s not too much of an ask, and people will feel like they’re doing something, and if they nominate five people then it will spread – almost like a virus.”

She added: “Our NHS workers are working tirelessly to protect us in this nerve-wracking time. I wanted to celebrate their efforts and raise money to help them continue the fight to save lives. I am overwhelmed by the response so far – what started as a small fundraiser with friends has grown into a global movement.”

Who’s involved?

Lots of famous faces have got involved, helping the challenge spread even quicker. They include the singer Ellie Goulding, the former footballer John Terry, the radio DJ Chris Moyles and a host of reality stars from Made In Chelsea to Love Island, many of whom have big followings on Instagram.

After being nominated by fellow radio DJ Toby Tarrant, Moyles passed it on to several players at his beloved Leeds United, posting: “So @tobytarrant nominated me to run 5K for Run For Heroes. I beat his time and then I donated... simple!”

Goulding wrote on Instagram: “Thank you NHS. I have nominated 5 friends and family!”

Where is the money going?

All proceeds go to NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation taking in charities which support the welfare of NHS staff in their fight against the coronavirus. Funding will be spent on wellbeing packs for staff and volunteers, as well as costs like travel, parking, accommodation and food.

“Your love and support has raised money to go towards wellbeing packs, accommodation and travel for NHS workers and volunteers, provide longer-term mental health support for staff and families affected, and help patients leave hospital quickly and safely,” Run for Heroes said as donations passed £1m.

How much has it raised?

Strong reached her initial target of £5,000 after only four days, and the following day that had figure doubled. The money raised now stands at nearly £2m – and it’s still climbing rapidly, meaning Strong will soon have to reassess her target once more.

How do I get involved?

You don’t have to wait to be tagged by a friend or family member to get involved – just go out and run, or walk, 5km. There are plenty of GPS tracking apps that can be downloaded to measure your distance. En route, take a picture holding up five fingers and post it on Instagram or your social media of choice. Then nominate five people by tagging them and, most importantly, donate £5 to the Run for Heroes campaign.

What if I’ve never run before?

You don’t need to be a runner to take part. If you’ve never run 5km before then you can still get involved either by walking or by taking a light jog. Measure your distance covered, and if you’re feeling good with 4km covered then you can gradually up the pace as you near the finish.

If in doubt when starting out, always run at a pace at which you could still hold a conversation with someone alongside you, even if that means slowing to a walk in places, and that will ensure you’re not out of breath as you go.

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