Hospice challenges Brummies to take on alternative marathon This October, a local charity is encouraging Brummies to take on a unique marathon challenge, which will see participants run, walk, swim or cycle 26.2 miles to help raise funds for hospice care. Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice’s ‘i-Marathon’ is a virtual fitness challenge where people complete the distance of a marathon but have the entire month of October to do it. Ideal for beginners or those with busy lifestyles, i-Marathon allows participants to choose their preferred sporting activity, as well as pick how far, how often, when and where they complete it. So it could be one mile of walking every day for 26 days, six miles of cycling in the gym every weekend, or a mixture of swimming and running throughout the month – whatever the preferred style, it’s a fantastic opportunity for people to introduce exercise into their day-to-day schedules. Created by Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, this DIY-style marathon aims to raise vital funds for the charity, which provides care and support to local people living with life-limiting illness. Laura Nash, events manager at the Hospice, said: “Taking on a marathon is no easy challenge but with i-Marathon, people can still go the distance but at a pace, time and place that suits them. It’s a fantastic way to try out a new activity, or it could suit those who are simply looking to keep fit and active.” This year, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is celebrating 40 years of care across Birmingham and Sandwell. When the Hospice first opened in 1979, it could care for 25 people on any given day. Four decades later and the Hospice is supporting over 400 people every day, providing care in people’s homes, in the community, at its Day Hospice facility and at the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit. Laura added: “Taking on the i-Marathon and raising funds during our special anniversary year will ensure that we can continue to care for local people wherever and whenever they need it. We need to raise £9 million this year to run our services – 64 per cent of which must come from generous voluntary donations – so we really do rely on events like this to help fund our crucial care. Participants will receive a free hospice t-shirt when they sign up and for those who reach their 26.2 mile goal and raise the minimum sponsorship of £26, they’ll be awarded with a commemorative medal. Raise over £40 and participants will also receive a special 40th hospice water bottle. Raise over £100 and participants will receive a mystery prize. Registration for the i-Marathon costs £5 and participants can sign up here.