So far this year we have posted about walking New Year’s resolutions and walking festivals, with a list of almost 100 festivals running in 2024. But, another key feature of the walking season has to be walking challenge events.

Attracting both seasoned and new walkers, challenges are a great way to get outside and get active. Of course you can set your own challenge, but many opt to join an organised event. And there is a lot of variety to choose from – UK or overseas, up mountains, in cities, solo challenge or in teams. And some are mass participation events providing a great atmosphere with walkers being cheered along by supporters.

10 awesome charity challenges are highlighted at the bottom of this page.

This is a great way to combine a walking challenge with fundraising for a good cause and they are big business for charities. According to Massive over the past ten years the 25 biggest charity owned mass participation events in the UK have raised over £1.3 billion. But they also engaged over 38 million new participants, sparked 450 million conversations among supporters and provided participants with a sense of pride that they’ve made a difference as part of a collective. The series of walking events for Macmillan Cancer Support’s Mighty Hikes in 2021 raised £12.3m for the charity and Cancer Research UK’s Walk All Over Cancer raised £10.4m.

Some events are pure sponsorship where the walker pays any costs themselves and nobbles friends, family and colleagues for cash in return for their effort – and pain! For other challenges walkers agree to fundraise a minimum amount, or pay this themselves as an entry fee. There are guidelines from the Institute of Fundraising for charities running challenge events which help charities stay within the rules.

Challenge events have recovered following the pandemic. The cost of living crisis is expected to impact. Many charities are optimistic for 2024.

Mass participation and sponsored physical events provide valuable charity income, especially as budgets tighten. Massive reported that the median number of events people reported taking part in during 2023 was back to the pre-pandemic levels, seen in 2019. According to a Charity Pulse survey, two-thirds of charities have expressed some concern over supporters having time to take part in events such as sponsored walks. Though, of the people Massive spoke to, over 40% were planning to increase the number of events they will do in 2024 compared to last year – and in particular 18 to 34 years olds. Charity Pulse found that three-quarters of charities have expressed concerns that fundraisers are reluctant to ask family, friends and colleagues for donations due to the cost of living crisis, but that almost 40% of charities think that income from challenge events will increase in 2024.

Instead of joining an organised challenge event some people opt to organise their own fundraising challenge on behalf of a cause which is close to their heart and use a platform such as Go Fund Me or Just Giving to collect donations – such as 3 Dads Walking who have set their own long distance walking and fundraising challenges whilst raising awareness for suicide prevention.

The benefits of joining an organised challenge are many. The details are taken care of for you, you’ll be told where and when to register and what you need to bring with you. Routes will be well signposted, guided or mapped and many have Marshalls and check points providing support – some even provide your refreshments. There is often backup and first aid available, so participants can focus their efforts on completing the distance.

Whether the event appeals to you or the cause is close to your heart, charity challenges are a great way to get outside, socialise and raise important funds. Below are ten great charity challenges, though there are many many more – please add yours to the comments.

Waling Challenges 2s

Join an existing walking challenge

Here are ten walking challenges on offer in 2024:

Macmillan Cancer Support – Mighty Hikes. “Join 30,000 hikers and take on a challenge to support people living with cancer. Choose from 15 Mighty Hikes either a full or half marathon across some of the UK’s most breath-taking landscapes!” 15 walks to choose from 11th May to 14th September 2024.

Cancer Research UK – Walk All Over Cancer – “Join thousands of supporters completing 10,000 steps every day to raise money for life-saving cancer research. You can take on the challenge in any way that suits you. You could walk, run, hop, or skip, and if that’s not possible for you, convert the steps into distance. 10,000 steps a day is equivalent to about 5 miles (or 8 km). We want this challenge to be flexible to suit you, so we welcome anyone to sign up to help beat cancer.” During March 2024

Prostate Cancer UK – March the Month – “March the Month is a virtual step challenge for anyone who wants to keep active and help beat prostate cancer. Join thousands of people, across the nation, committing themselves to walk or wheel 11,000 steps a day throughout March.” During March 2024.

Sands – Walk 100km in March – “Walk 100km this March and help us save babies’ lives and support bereaved families. Will you challenge yourself to walk 100km over the month of March? Whether you run, walk, dance or climb, be part of the team taking on #100kmForSands.” During March 2024.

Alzheimer’s Society – Trek26 – “Take on an epic 26 or 13 mile trek in one of 10 breath-taking locations across the UK. You’ll join thousands of others who are also trekking for better days ahead. It’ll be tough, but we know you have got what it takes!” 10 walks to choose from 11th May to 10th August.

Paths for All – Spring Step Count Challenge 2024“A bespoke Step Count Challenge which allow organisations to run their own, in-house challenge at any time. The aim is to bring colleagues together to motivate each other to walk more and be more active and reverse the trend of sedentary behaviour at work.” 29th April to 23rd June

The Brain Tumor Charity – Climb for Cures! – “Our new four-part charity challenge – Climb for Cures – will see our team of dedicated trekkers tackle some of the UK’s most iconic peaks to help power our mission to take on brain tumours. From snow-capped peaks and wind-swept dales to blustery bogs and misty moors, we’ll leave no stone unturned as we climb towards cures!” June 2024

MS Society – 10 in 10 (or 5 in 5) – “Challenge yourself to the walk of a lifetime in the beautiful Lake District and be part of a national movement to stop MS. This year we will be heading over Causey Pike, Sail, Crag Hill, Wandope, Whiteless Pike, High Snockrigg, Robinson, Dale Head, High Spy, Maiden Moor.” Saturday 22nd June 2024

British Heart Foundation – Action Challenge – “Are you a keen walker or runner looking for a challenge? Perhaps you want to get in shape and re-energise, or fundraise for a charity close to your heart? If so, these events are for you! Whether it’s along a stunning coastline, or on trails in the best of Britain’s countryside, your Ultra Challenge® will be unforgettable – with full support, new friends made, and an amazing sense of achievement. ” 16 events to choose from 4th May to 28th September 2024.

RSPCA – Ultra Challenge Treks – “Discover the beautiful UK outdoors by choosing one of our treks. Become immersed in the breathtaking views, see the great outdoors whilst raising vital funds to help give animals a second chance. Discover your next adventure by joining any of our exciting treks. Be part of one team taking on the challenge together in some of the UK’s most iconic locations.” 30+ events from 6th April to 26th October 2024

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