Fundraising: Could you run, walk, swim or cycle 1000 miles for M.E.? The Virtual Runner Challenge. | 16 November 2018

November 16, 2018


Helen Hyland, Fundraising Manager, ME Association.

For people with M.E. completing a 1000-mile challenge even over the course of a year can only be an aspiration or dream (perhaps even a nightmare).

They are simply not well enough to take on such a feat and to do so would not be advisable.

But I know that there are people out there who will leap at the chance of doing this because the people they care about cannot or because they enjoy helping to raise funds for a good cause and love a physical challenge.

This is exactly the kind of event that will appeal to keen or budding athletes who cannot commit to organised races on set dates, but who can safely aim to achieve a good level of fitness in 2019.

It will also appeal to people who are able to walk, run, swim or cycle for pleasure as well as who already exercise on a regular basis.

The 2019 Virtual Runner Challenge

The ME Association is thrilled to announce that Virtual Runner is promoting a 1000-mile challenge through the course of 2019 for M.E.

The aim of the event is simple – to challenge people to run, walk, swim or cycle the full 1000-mile distance over the course of the year. And if you can substantiate your distances at the end, you will be awarded a Virtual Runner Medal.

Virtual Runner works with over 50,000 runners worldwide, encouraging them to enter virtual races that they can complete anywhere, anytime, and at their own pace.

A proportion of entry fees is paid to nominated charities and a huge number have already benefited from significant donations – including the ME Association.

To learn more about the challenge and to join in the fun, please click here. Once you have chosen your discipline – walking, running, swimming or cycling – enter your details on the Virtual Runner website. But register early as there are limited places available!


If you are committing yourself to this kind of challenge, why not fundraise for the ME Association? As usual, we will do our very best to support you every step or stroke of the way.

It would be wonderful to have a community of folk doing this challenge and sharing their experiences throughout next year. Please get in touch with me if this is something you think you would like to do.

Walking 1000 miles?

There’s a tune from the Proclaimers running through my head as I write this… Something about walking 500 miles and then walking 500 miles more….

A thousand miles might seem a lot, but if you are a dog walker, like me, then you might find that you are already covering that kind of distance over the course of a year – it is less than 3 miles a day. If my dog, Neo, hadn’t already done a fundraiser for ME Association, I might very well have asked for sponsorship for him to do this challenge next year. I know that it is something he’d happily take in his stride.

Running 1000 miles?

Now that’s when things can get a bit more serious and challenging. But we know that it is achievable, as ME Association fundraiser, David Fardon successfully completed the distance in training for a series of runs not that very long ago. We’ll be writing about his experiences at a later date, just to give you some tips on how it can be done.

Swimming 1000 miles?

This is potentially more extreme. I’m not sure whether this is even possible. One-mile equals 64 lengths of a standard 25m pool. Which is probably as much as most strong swimmers could manage in any one swimming session.

And doing that 1000 times? Phew! But if you are swimming daft – or in regular training for something, then this challenge could be a helpful way for you to keep tabs on your training progress…

And you can even cycle 1000-miles… So long as you record your efforts using a suitable App or Fitbit device, once you have submitted the required distance you will be sent the Virtual Runner Medal. For more information visit Virtual Runner. But register early as there are limited places available!

Help and Support

Every person signing up, not just to the challenge, but to fundraise too, can receive one of our iconic purple “ME – It’s Real, it’s physical” t-shirts. You will also get full support – including advice on setting up a JustGiving page – leaflets and posters.

And if you join our closed group on Facebook, you can receive the backing and companionship of the wonderful online community of Purple Fundraisers for M.E.

We’d love to hear about your progress with this event so that we might feature your story on our website, social media and in ME Essential – the exclusive ME Association magazine. For more information, do please get in touch. Contact Helen via email, or phone (01280 838964).

The ME Association Christmas Appeal

More Research for M.E. in 2019

If you would like to support our Christmas Appeal, which aims to raise vital funds for more biomedical research in 2019, then please:

  • Visit our JustGiving Page to start fundraising or to make an online donation,
  • Send a cheque payable to The ME Association (with a note saying that it is for the Christmas Appeal) to ME Association, 7 Apollo Office Court, Radclive Road, Gawcott, Buckinghamshire, MK18 4DF.
  • Make a donation by card over the phone to head office (01280 818964).

For more information, visit the Christmas Appeal page of our website. Thank you.

ME Association Registered Charity Number 801279


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