Much of the nation will be taking on a charitable task this week as part of the 2.6 Challenge, raising money for great causes, including the NHS.
Taking place officially on Sunday 26 April – the date of what should have been the 40th London Marathon – the campaign asks people to help raise funds by taking on challenges related to 2.6 or 26.2 (or variations on the theme).
For many of us, that could be a quick 2.6 mile run, doing a handstand for 26.2 seconds, or riding 26.2 miles on a turbo trainer.
Wiggle customer and super-athlete Kate Jayden from Chester, on the other hand, is taking things a few steps further.
Starting on Friday night, Kate will be taking on a 26.2 hour bike ride. It’s an unbelievable feat, finishing at 2.12am in the early hours of Sunday morning.
But what’s even more extraordinary is that just a few hours later, she’ll be on her treadmill, running a full marathon, recreating the London Marathon distance at home.
Kate is familiar with feats of ultra-endurance, having completed a number of extreme challenges in the past, such as running 11 marathons in 11 days, tackling ultra runs spanning over 100 miles, and the quite unbelievable feat of completing the Deca: 10 Ironman-distance triathlons in 10 days.
Over the years, she’s helped raise thousands of pounds for many charities. Now she’s putting her incredible endurance to the test for the NHS and in support of food banks, which are seeing unprecedented demand.
We caught up with Kate to talk about her astonishing challenge and how you can help her hit her £1,000 target this weekend.
Tell us about how you decided on this incredible 2.6 Challenge.
I was supposed to run the London Marathon and take part in Ironman 70.3 in Mallorca. I’d been training for Ironman Kalmar too – but that’s now a Kalmaybe!
My long rides had been increasing and I’d been doing long runs. As soon as lockdown came into force, I felt it only right I reduced my runs in duration.
I’ve been doing shorter runs using HIIT and interval structures. However, as my long rides were due to start increasing, I had little option but to take to the turbo trainer indoors as I was concerned about any potential for ending up in hospital if I had an accident unnecessarily.
I started by doing 100km. Bank holiday Monday I decided to see if I could do 100 miles indoors and managed that.
When my races were cancelled my imagination started wandering as to what I could do, and I decided on a 26.2 theme on London marathon weekend.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
I’ve done a lot of marathons and so knew that was possible but I'd never ran longer than an hour or so on the treadmill.
I’m no stranger to endurance events as I’ve completed a Deca triathlon before (10 ironman distance triathlons in 10 days) but I’ve never cycled more than about 180 miles on the bike at one time, so I know this will be a real challenge of mental strength.
It will be made even more difficult by the timing too. I start the 26.2 hour bike ride midnight Friday night, finishing 02:12am Sunday morning, followed by the marathon at 9am. I’m sorry, legs!
What’s motivated you to raise this money for charity?
I wanted to be able to help others as I was very aware I’m really lucky to be able to work from home through the pandemic and still have a job.
I’m fortunate to have a treadmill and bike trainer so thought I’d do something to help.
My mum is in the NHS working as a nurse and I hadn’t been able to travel to see her when plans changed due to lockdown and I felt like I should do something positive.
Seeing the foodbanks become so overstretched and mental health charities access increase by 50% in the last few weeks struck a chord.
I’m so grateful to be living with my partner throughout this but before that I would have struggled with loneliness at times like this.
I’ve struggled with mental health issues in the past but I’m doing really well now. We’re all in this together and we all have some even small positives and privileges in our lives currently if we seek them.
We all have things to be grateful for even in hard times, even when it may not feel like it. In those times we all need to help one another and be considerate of others’ needs, by spreading kindness, creating a domino effect of acts of kindness.
If a mother can feed her children, or somebody may not choose to end their life, if a person’s view of mental health is changed, or just one person has a meal on their table through what I’m doing, then a weekend of enduring this is nothing compared to the struggles faced in poverty and loneliness caused as a side effect of this awful virus.
Please help me to fill the foodbanks and to care for the nation’s mental health by donating to the Trussell Trust and Mind at www.virginmoneygiving.com/londonlivingroom.