The #MyMiles Challenge, which first took place during SportsAid Week 2017, will once again be at the heart of the initiative. The Challenge is inspired by SportsAid athletes, typically aged between 12 and 18, who cover around 40 miles in training every week. The Challenge encourages supporters to ‘keep them company’ by undertaking physical activity of their own to show we are right behind them!
SportsAid Week is a dedicated week of fun and awareness raising open to everybody. The initiative has always received widespread backing from the charity’s commercial partners, as well as Olympians, Paralympians, up-and-coming athletes, National Governing Bodies, schools, universities and individual supporters, all of whom have previously come together to play their part.
Any money raised from SportsAid Week goes directly to SportsAid. The charity provides support to more than 1,000 athletes each year from over 60 sports. The award received by athletes helps with the training and competition costs they face,including equipment, accommodation and transport, while also offering personal development opportunities and much-deserved personal recognition.
Accessibility and Inclusion
SportsAid is committed to supporting the development of talented young athletes in an open and inclusive environment, ensuring equality of opportunity through its programmes of help and recognition. Over more than 45 years, the charity has supported tens of thousands of athletes who have gone on to represent their country - either at junior or senior level - on the international stage.
SportsAid has always been firm its belief that any athlete demonstrating the characteristics and ability required to succeed should have the opportunity to develop and fulfil their potential. The charity is actively working to increase diversity across the talent pathway, particularly through its programmes with Sport England, and provide access to those who are financially or geographically disadvantaged.
The theme of ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ is an opportunity for partners to highlight their own work in this area during SportsAid Week. SportsAid athletes revealed in the charity’s most recent survey that accessibility and the cost of sport are the issues they care most passionately about. It will also open up discussions on the progress being made, as well as the challenges faced, in the sports sector.
The charity’s supporters will be able to connect and demonstrate what ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ truly means to them - whether it be through in-person events or other means. International Women’s Day falls on Wednesday 8 March and SportsAid is also hosting its annual wheelchair basketball tournament to give supporters the chance to experience one of the most popular Paralympic sports.
The #MyMiles Challenge
The #MyMiles Challenge has always had two key elements: the first is to help tell the stories of talented young athletes from communities up and down the country, generating awareness about the charity in the process, and the second is to invite people to fundraise for SportsAid. The Challenge is also a brilliant opportunity to promote health and wellbeing – particularly in the workplace.
The aim of the Challenge is to undertake physical activity of your own, posting the miles covered through social media and spreading the word (if you wish) by making a nomination to start a chain. It’s accessible to everyone and it’s down to you as to how many miles you wish to commit to, how you do them and who you do them with. Here’s a step-by-step guide and a few ideas to consider:
GO SOLO OR BUILD YOUR OWN TEAM
First of all, you have an important decision to make….are you undertaking the #MyMiles Challenge individually or building a team of formidable friends, family and colleagues? This may dictate the amount of miles you wish to cover throughout SportsAid Week!
You can feel what it’s like to be a talented young athlete by setting yourself a personal goal and fitting this around your busy schedule….or you may decide this is the perfect opportunity to connect with a wider group and set an ambitious target for you to reach collectively!
Why not spread the word about the Challenge throughout your workplace? You could create a bit of fun competition internally and develop a league table between your departments! Have a prize for the winners and runners-up and see who racks up the most miles.
CHOOSE YOUR TARGET DISTANCE
The beauty of the #MyMiles Challenge is that it’s completely accessible. Whether you’re committing to a single mile, or several hundred, your contribution will make a difference.
We have seen so many creative ideas over the years from individuals and teams…and they’ve all been inspired by the talented young athletes we support. We’ve put together a few suggestions, below, which may work for you….but it really is a blank canvas so we’d love you to come up with your own versions!
What would you like to achieve? Set a target of as many miles as you wish and complete them over SportsAid Week. This may be better suited to sports which are less easy to record the distance you’ve covered…let's treat 20 minutes of exercise as equal to one mile!
Create your own marathon! Complete 26.2 miles your way: plan your route and run/cycle/walk it all in one go, or gradually progress towards your target through a range of activities during the week. This is easy to map out locally via AA Route Planner….or do it on the ergometer!
This is the distance a SportsAid athlete, on average, will get through in training every single week! Put yourself in their shoes and see how challenging it is to complete 40 miles across seven days with all your other commitments….you may be grateful for bed time!
Take us on a tour of your choosing…this could be in the flesh or virtually! You may want to tick off a number of stadiums on your route and take selfies at each stop…or you could jump on Zwift and find yourself riding through the different stages of the Tour de France!
TOKYO TO PARIS
6,028 miles! That’s the distance from the Tokyo Olympic Stadium to the Stade de France - where the Opening Ceremony took place in 2021 and will do in 2024. It’s an ambitious total but you can do it with a big enough team! Why not extend to a whole month to complete it?
FROM OUR OFFICE TO…
You may be working from home but this is a popular choice! Stick your office postcode into Google Maps, choose an end destination and find out the distance between the two. You may choose a venue of sporting significance….or have an international office you want to reach!
DECIDE HOW YOU'RE GOING TO COMPLETE THE DISTANCE
How you choose to support the #MyMiles Challenge is up to you! We are looking for you to take the lead and decide how you would most like to join in. Perhaps you could opt for an Olympic or Paralympic discipline? Running, cycling, swimming and rowing are always popular. How about archery, canoeing, fencing, skiing, table tennis, taekwondo or weightlifting?
Team sports such as netball, hockey, rugby, football and basketball are excellent for getting more people involved. Crossfit, boxercise, yoga and spin are classes you may like. Maybe you could find a set of classes online through YouTube or a subscription if you prefer not to go to the gym?
Walking your dog, going for a stroll and actively commuting to work all fit the bill. The distance you cover doesn't have to come via strenuous activity. The Challenge is designed to work for you! Remember, 20 minutes = 1 mile if it’s not easy to record the distance.
SET UP A FUNDRAISING PAGE
You can set up a fundraising page in advance on JustGiving and encourage donations be made to SportsAid! This is entirely up to you as to whether you wish to do so! Any money raised through the #MyMiles Challenge will support talented young athletes in many different ways - no matter the amount. It can help to cover training and competition costs, including equipment, accommodation and transport, and also provide crucial personal development opportunities.
Many SportsAid athletes receive expert advice through workshops which focus on areas such as nutrition, performance lifestyle management and telling your story through the media. We have also been offering this support through online sessions since the COVID-19 pandemic began. They can also access mentoring from Olympians and Paralympians! The support from SportsAid acts as a motivational boost and provides well-earned recognition of their talent and potential.
IT'S SPORTSAID WEEK....DO YOUR MILES AND KEEP US UPDATED!
It’s Monday 6 March….time to start completing your miles! You have a whole week to cover your chosen distance but do feel free to do this over a longer period of time if you have set a more ambitious total. We would love you to keep us updated on your progress through social media by posting a video or image using #MyMiles.…particularly as we can share this with the talented young athletes we support to show them you’re right there with them. Make a nomination to spread the word further too! Why not join the movement in 2023?
SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March. Please contact Graham Dandy, SportsAid’s Partnership Manager, via email@example.com if you wish to talk through your planned activity. Thank you for your support!