SPORTSAID WEEK

It's happening....SportsAid Week 2020 is taking place from 21-27 September! The #MyMiles Challenge, which first launched during SportsAid Week 2017, will once again be at the heart of the activities for the week.

SportsAid Week 2020 is going ahead…and we need YOUR support! The annual initiative, taking place for its fifth consecutive year, comes as the charity embarks on a new chapter. Tokyo 2020(1), Beijing 2022 and Birmingham 2022 are all on the horizon, and with the huge challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to take this opportunity to celebrate the dedication and resilience shown by the next generation of British sporting heroes! 

The #MyMiles Challenge, which first launched during SportsAid Week 2017, will once again be at the heart of the activities for the week. The aim is to shine a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes by undertaking physical activity of our own, posting the miles we cover through social media and spreading the word (if you wish) by making a nomination to start a chain. We want to show we are right behind them, ‘keeping them company’ in our own way, as they return to training despite the uncertainty surrounding their competition calendar!

The #MyMiles Challenge is inspired by SportsAid athletes, typically aged between 12 and 18, who cover around 40 miles in their training every week alongside their school or university schedule, homework assignments, time with family and social lives. The Challenge is 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. We have listed a few ideas for you below as we look to beat last year’s total of 51,001 miles! Can you help us to set a new PB in 2020? 

Each year, SportsAid Week has been a wonderful week of fun and fundraising for the charity and over £175,000 has been donated to support our work since the initiative was launched in 2016. We fully appreciate there are many fundraising initiatives, particularly virtual challenges, which have been taking place throughout the last five months, and the impact of COVID-19 on the wider economy and people’s personal finances has been significant – but we hope SportsAid Week is a great excuse for us all to come together again for a good cause.

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 while generating awareness about the charity in the process; the second is to invite people to fundraise for SportsAid. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the charity sector, SportsAid included, so we would be grateful for any fundraising people may choose to do this year but we have no specific expectation on this front. Please just do what you can!

PLEASE LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR THE #MYMILES CHALLENGE BY EMAILING US ON SPORTSAIDWEEK@SPORTSAID.ORG.UK - WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT AND WOULD LOVE TO SHARE YOUR STORIES MORE WIDELY! 

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO THE #MYMILES CHALLENGE....JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

1) 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!

2) 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!

#MYMILES TARGET

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!

#MYMILES MARATHON

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!

#MYMILES x40

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!

#MYMILES TOUR

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 Ceremonies will take place in 2021 and 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!

3) 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. This could be trickier with the current restrictions placed across gyms but why not find a class online?

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.

4) 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 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 been offering this support through online sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

5) IT’S SPORTSAID WEEK….DO YOUR MILES AND KEEP US UPDATED!

It’s Monday 21 September….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 2020?

PLEASE CONSULT THE LATEST GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE TO ENSURE YOUR PLANNED ACTIVITY ADHERES TO THE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE REGARDING COVID-19. PLEASE FOLLOW ALL RELEVANT HEALTH, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND HYGIENE PROTOCOLS.

"IT WAS MY BRIGHT IDEA!"

“We like to support SportsAid as a number of our athletes have been helped by the charity over the years. Usually, this entails getting involved in social media campaigns and inclusion in our newsletters to raise awareness. This year, we thought it would be nice to do the #MyMiles Challenge and, with the Olympics coming up next year, someone (me, sorry!) had the bright idea of covering the equivalent miles from Milton Keynes to Tokyo. We realised that was quite a daunting task - but we were sure our colleagues would rise to the challenge!"

PAUL STIMPSON, TABLE TENNIS ENGLAND

“We actually hit 1,800 miles together in September which was great as we beat our target of 1,4000. Staff covered the miles at all sorts of times - when home from a late night club visit, first thing in the morning or using it as good motivation to get moving at lunch. Everyone was responsible for their own miles. We had spot prizes for hitting certain landmark miles along the way which was good for morale. It was never about who is doing the most but doing it together. I think doing the #MyMiles Challenge has started up really good habits.”

SARAH LAWLER-EDWARDS, THE FA

“My intention and challenge was to complete 100 lengths over five days. Because of my osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, and the impact it has on my overall physical mobility and pain management, I chose this challenge because I cope better in water. I am pleased to announce that I did in fact swim 132 lengths! This was a great achievement for me and has since inspired other mature people to take up the sport of swimming. I do hope my fundraising will help towards assisting a young athlete to strive towards their chosen passion.”

LIZ PERRY, MOTHER OF SPORTSAID ATHLETE SIMEON

“What an amazing time our SportsAid Week fundraiser turned into. We raised £320 for the charity that supports the next generation of sportspeople. Who better to raise funds for them than older people - many of whom are ex-professionals themselves? We had a visiting team from Mellor, Blackburn and a representative from Netball England to also support us. We are more than just a team that gets together two or three times a week. We are a family and the support and generosity from them left me very humbled and thankful to be part of the team.”

TONI MORRIS, LIVE WYRES WALKING NETBALL TEAM (THORNTON YMCA)