13 fun-packed fundraising alternatives to the Virgin Money London Marathon

The Virgin Money London Marathon is one of the biggest sporting events in the fundraising calendar, with around 40,000 people set to take part this year and hundreds of thousands cheering them on. For those of us who won’t be pounding the pavements or watching from street corners, the weekend is also a great excuse to get the family together and do something fun in the name of charity. There are hundreds of events taking place throughout the UK, from alternative sporting events to leisurely lunches, to get all ages into the fundraising spirit and raising money for a good cause.

Here’s our pick of some of the best ways to get involved on 23 April.

13 fun-packed fundraising alternatives to the Virgin Money London Marathon

The Longhorn 2017

The Longhorn 2017
Thoresby Hall, Ollerton, Nottinghamshire

Didn’t make it into the marathon but still fancy giving your running shoes an outing? In the vast grounds of the 19th-century stately home Thoresby Hall, you can raise money for Nottingham Hospitals Charity by taking part in anything from a 5k sprint to a 60k ultra-marathon.

Pack a picnic and relax afterwards in the grounds, on the edge of Sherwood Forest. Or make a weekend of it and stay at the hall, part of Warner Leisure Hotels, which is equipped with a dreamy spa.

Blackpool Marathon
North Promenade, Blackpool

Pound Blackpool’s famous promenade in this alternative marathon, with half marathon and 10k events on the same day. It’s a great excuse for a day out to see the famous illuminations and Blackpool Tower.

Kids (both little and big) will love the rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, too, with Nickelodeon Land perfect for younger tots. And make sure you give those post-run limbs a good stretch with a stroll along the seafront.

Parkinson's UK Battlezone Archery

Parkinson’s UK Battlezone Archery
Ormeau Park, Belfast

A mixture of archery and dodgeball might sound like a dangerous combination but, thankfully, the arrows have specially designed round rubber tips, which absorb the impact when they hit a player.

Two teams at a time face off across a purpose-built field layout, with points awarded for each opposing player eliminated and each target cone hit.

To join the Parkinson’s UK team, individuals and groups can register for £25, with £100 minimum sponsorship.

Participants need to be 16 or over, so younger kids won’t be able to join in. But the park has lovely eco trails, bowling greens and a children’s playground, so there’s plenty to keep them entertained with an adult sitting out the games.

parkinson's UK battlezone archery, Ormeau Park

Skydiving for Alder Hey Children’s Charity
Locations across the UK

Looking for a real thrill? Alder Hey Children’s Charity has joined up with Skyline, which has sites located across the country for daredevils to take part in a tandem skydive. There are dates available throughout the year, so you can help raise money at a place and time that suits you.

And, as you take the leap, you can do so in the knowledge you’ll be raising vital funds for children at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Revive Art Show

Revive Art Show
The Tall Ship at Riverside, Glasgow

Climb aboard the Glenlee, one of five Clyde-built ships still afloat in the world today and the centrepiece of Glasgow’s The Tall Ship museum, to browse artwork in aid of Revive MS.

With pieces by both amateur and established artists, 50 per cent of the proceeds go to the charity.

While you’re there, you can explore every nook and cranny of the Glenlee, including the refurbished captain’s cabin, encountering costumed volunteers as you go. There’s even a mini cinema, a play area for under-fives and a coffee shop on board.

revive art show, the tall ship at riverside, Glasgow

ABP Marathon
Southampton

You can still give your trainers an outing on the day of the London Marathon by signing up to this alternative event in Southampton. This is the first year the city is hosting a full marathon, and there are still places available for the marathon (the half-marathon is full), the 10k and the mile fun run – perfect for younger kids.

And you can combine getting active for charity with some time exploring the city’s cultural spots, including the Solent Sky Museum, which is dedicated to the history of aviation in Southampton.

57th Annual GUVMA Rodeo

57th Annual GUVMA Rodeo
Garscube Estate, Glasgow

On April 22, the day before the London Marathon, the cowboys are coming to town. Glasgow town, that is, with a day-long rodeo in the grounds of Garscube Estate.

Hosted by the Glasgow University Veterinary Medical Association (GUVMA), the day is all about animal-themed fun for the whole family. Tickets are £8 for adults and £5 concessions, with the event raising money for more than 30 animal charities like PDSA and Cats Protection Glasgow.

Make a weekend of it and explore the vibrant Scottish city, booking a table in the twinkling hanging gardens of The Ubiquitous Chip, one of Glasgow’s most popular restaurants.

57th annual GUVMA rodeo, Glasgow

Walk for Life
Various locations across Wales

Strap on your walking boots and take in some charming Welsh villages and countryside by joining a Walk for Life, organised across Wales for the past 30 years.

Community volunteers organise the walks in aid of Kidney Wales, raising money for people affected by kidney disease. With some involving treasure hunts and taking in parks, beaches and peaks, and with varying distances, it’s a great chance to get the whole family out in the fresh air and do your bit at the same time.

Locations include Pencarreg, a small village on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, Pontypool in historic Monmouthshire, and Pembroke, home of Henry VII’s birthplace Pembroke Castle. The latter is well worth a visit, with staff members dressed in period costume bringing Tudor history to life.

Quarriers Ladies Lunch

Quarriers Ladies Lunch
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

Be a proper lady who lunches at this annual champagne reception, set in the rather lovely Grand Ballroom at Glasgow’s classiest hotel. The £40 ticket price gets you the aforementioned fizz, a delicious meal, goody bags and live music from The Jerseytones.

And it isn’t just a luxurious day out. The event is hosted by Quarriers, one of Scotland’s largest social care charities. We’ll raise a glass to that.

quarriers ladies lunch, Glasgow

Run Balmoral
Balmoral, Aberdeenshire

If the thought of all those fit types clocking up 26.2 miles makes you feel a little lazy, take on a challenge to suit you, in the glorious surroundings of the Royal Family’s Scottish holiday home.

With eight races over the London Marathon weekend, from a 1.5k to a 15-mile trail, it’s ideal for most ages and abilities.

Allow some time to explore while you’re there, perhaps making a full weekend of it with a stay at one of the self-catering cottages on site.

Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run

Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run

The only run weaving through the historic heart of Edinburgh, the 10 mile-route starts in Holyrood Park and cuts past Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat.

It’s like a speeded-up sightseeing tour, and you can reward yourself afterwards with a wee dram or three at The Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile.

simplyhealth great edinburgh run

Bungee Jump at The O2
London

Ready for a leap of faith? Take on an incredible 160ft bungee jump from London’s iconic The O2, with dates including April 22 and 23. You’ll have a few moments to take in the sights from the top, sweeping across the capital, before launching off the platform.

One for braver souls, but you will be raising cash for The Mayhew Animal Home. Registration is £60 with £200 minimum sponsorship, and the free-fall jumps take place in various other locations around the UK.

Legends v Legends charity football match

Legends v Legends charity football match
Ipswich

Former Ipswich Town Football Club players are joined by fans who have successfully bid to tackle and dribble alongside their footy heroes. Take the family along to watch the action from the side lines.

The fun but competitive game is to raise money for My WiSH Charity, supporting West Suffolk Hospital.

After all that activity and do-gooding, why not spend a bit of time concentrating on your own health – start by comparing our deals for your health insurance.

legends vs legends charity football match

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