Crofton Saints Pumas under 14 football team has been missing training together and playing matches, but the squad was so inspired by the 100-year-old fundraiser that they wanted to do their bit for charity.
Each of the team’s 20 players took on a five-mile run to count towards the effort, which raised more than £1,500 for NHS Charities Together.
Player Jamie Mason said: ‘Such a good feeling to be part of a great team supporting a great cause. It was tough running five miles around my garden, it made it more of a mental challenge than physical for me.’
Teammate Alfie Bruno added: ‘It was fun, but it was hard. It is for a good cause as if we help the NHS they will get us playing football again.’
The squad was set up five years ago, with the original team being created from players of other teams deemed ‘not talented enough’.
Matt Milham and his partner Tracie Bruno set up the team to give their sons Alfie Bruno and Tom Milham a chance to play - and the Pumas have gone from strength to strength since, with the help of coaches Pete Brown and Michael Roberts.
Matt, from Stubbington, said: ‘The weekend the boys ran their event they should have been playing in Barcelona at a youth football event, this was cancelled due to Covid-19.
‘I was so proud the boys wanted to do this when they should have been on tour, no sulking just making the best of the situation. They are an exceptional group of young men.’
Although they have missed out on the Costa Daurada Cup this year, two years ago the boys raised enough to enter an international tournament in Holland.
Matt said: ‘No matter how good or bad, as long as the boys put 100 per cent effort into training they will play football.
‘We want the boys to make healthy life choices and we believe we can support and enable them to have the right routines now which will go through their lives.’
To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/thebrumils.