The £10k Challenge triples fundraising target in support of mental health resources

Pink coloured graphic with clouds, a running track, Hazlerigg, and a runner, as well as the university logo

Over 170 alumni, staff, students, and friends of the University participated in The £10k Challenge from 10-19 March 2021.

They set out to collectively raise £10,000 to support the mental health and wellbeing resources on offer to students at the University by completing a range of exercise and other activities. The target was reached on day one of the challenge, and now stands at triple that, at more than £30,000.

More than one thousand people have generously donated to the challenge, supporting friends and colleagues in their tremendous exercise efforts.

Leading the challenge was Alumni Advisory Board member, Alex Laybourne. A former resident of Falkner Eggington Hall, Alex brought together more than 30 Falk Egg alumni and students to participate in the challenge, and he set the team an initial target of £2,500. The Falk Egg Old Boys quickly exceeded that target, and near the end of the challenge, this team alone was heading for £10,000.

The team put in a huge amount of effort, with many of the Falk Egg Old Boys participants raising over £500 each. Josh Illingworth, who rowed 100k during the challenge, and alumnus Steve Hall, who walked 100k, raised over £2,000 each and were our biggest fundraisers. 

Richard Mott also joined the Falk Egg team, running 100k over ten days. He documented his progress with photos and video clips and has since put together a video of the whole challenge. He completed his final 10k in a suit (pictured below, left)!

Current Falk Egg Hall Chair, Abigail Hampson, also took part and raised £395.

Exceeding their latterly £10,000 target, the team raised over £14,500, which included generous match-funded donations from a business in the Falk Egg network.

Alex, who himself ran 100k, said:

“It’s been an incredible effort. The participants have been absolutely amazing. A massive thank you goes out to all the people who have supported the participants and for the donations we have had.”

Many other challenge participants figured 10k was not enough and opted for 100k challenges.

One such participant was current PhD student, Nathan Ritchie, who shared his passion for supporting student mental health throughout the challenge. Sharing daily updates and facts about the mental health of doctoral researchers, Nathan ran more than 100k over the ten days, and raised £870, the largest student fundraising total.

Completing a series of marathons during the challenge was alumnus Sam Bassett (pictured below, right), who raised over £1,000 for his incredible efforts. He said:

“I was fortunate to receive excellent support from the mental health initiatives at Loughborough whilst I was a student. I took up running whilst at university which had an extremely positive impact on my mental health”. 

Staff teams also took on the challenge, with the Academic Leadership Team and the Associate Deans for Research (Team ADR+) both raising more than £1,000 each. They teamed up to run, walk or cycle hundreds of kilometres between them, and there may have been a little competition between the teams, too…‌

A team from the Loughborough Design School also took part (pictured below), raising over £400. Some members of the seven-person team stuck to walking and running, whilst Andrew May did 1,000 juggles, Andrew Pooley did 1,000 push-ups, and Nikki Clark combined walking with mindful yoga.

There were a series of wonderful wildcards. Dr Diganta Das, a member of staff in Chemical Engineering, played the classical tabla, an Indian percussion instrument, for an hour every day. He documented his musical journey via YouTube. A group of Telford Hall alumni, led by Alumni President Oliver Sidwell, were exercising and drinking custard, whilst Marketing Coordinator, Rachel Cassell, took to the streets in her local area to pick litter.

Participants took part from around the world. Twenty-four were outside of the UK in locations such as Malaysia, Australia, and China. Alumnus Stephen Cole (pictured below), based in Spain, ran every day for ten minutes. At age 73, he was one of our older participants, and completed the challenge as part of “The Not So Auld Alliance” team with his stepson, Steve Smith. Together they raised over £900.

Following the launch of the challenge on 10 March, more people got involved, and 180 people had signed up. They were:

  • 93 alumni
  • 23 students
  • 50 staff
  • 14 friends of the University 

They signed up for a huge range of challenges in the following categories:

  • 38 committed to running a 10k
  • 28 people were running or walking 10,000 steps a day
  • 22 ran 10 minutes a day
  • 92 people took on a wildcard challenge

Funds raised will go to the Mental Health Appeal, launched in 2020 to raise money to support the services on offer to students at Loughborough during these difficult times.

If you would like to find out more or donate, check out the JustGiving page.  

Congratulations and a huge thank you to our participants and for the hundreds of very kind and generous donations.