University of Portsmouth students are aiming to run 10,000km in seven days to support NHS

THE CITY’S university sports teams are hoping to run 10,000km to raise money for the NHS and ‘get one over’ their nearest rivals in the process.

Saturday, 18th April 2020, 4:23 pm
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 11:22 am

Despite the majority of students having returned home after the face to face teaching was stopped, members from 20 of the University of Portsmouth’s sports clubs are running thousands of kilometres around their homes to raise money for the Association of NHS Charities.

Originally the idea of the netball team, the initiative now includes 390 participants spread across the country.

Geography student and netball team committee member, Eleanor Smith, 21, said: ‘Obviously with what’s going on with coronavirus at the moment we wanted to raise money to support the NHS. Lots of our students have family who work in the NHS.

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University of Portsmouth netball team committee member, Eleanor Smith, 21, has organised a fundraiser run for the NHS.

‘It started off as a netball team initiative but after I spoke to all the other team presidents they were really keen to get involved.’

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The initial idea came about after Eleanor saw the University of Southampton netball team were looking to raise money by running a collective total of 1,000km in seven days. Not wanting to be beaten by their nearest rivals, the Portsmouth students decided they would go one mile better.

Eleanor, who is currently living in Southsea, said: ‘We were due to play Southampton on March 15 in the Varsity competition but that was obviously cancelled. We therefore decided to beat their challenge by running 1,001km.’

Since the initial idea the challenge has now spiralled to potentially 10,000km in seven days.

Eleanor added: ‘Once all the other teams got involved they set their own distance targets which in total came to 7,516km. This ranged from 100km for some teams up to 1,600km for the Athletics Club.’

‘However, with only three days gone we are already past the halfway mark and so we are now hoping to reach 10,000km.’

In completing the challenge, the students are also hoping to raise more than £2,000 for the NHS.

Eleanor, who set up the Just Giving page, said: ‘We initially set a target of £2,000 but we’ve already achieved 76 per cent of this goal.’

She feels the speed and volume of support is indicative of how the university and wider community have come together in the face of adversity to fight the disease.

Eleanor said: ‘As soon as I put forward the idea the rapid response from other clubs and the enthusiasm to get involved just shows how the university community has pulled together to support this fantastic cause.

‘While we can no longer see each other in person it’s such a good way to get people together for a common cause.’

The running challenge was launched on Wednesday April 15 and is due to finish on Wednesday April 22.

If anyone would like to donate money to support the cause then go to http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eleanor-smith34

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