On 9 January the Royal Air Force Museum launched the Lancaster Challenge, a virtual event where participants could choose whether to complete 80K, 150K, or 500K in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Lancaster. Showing their support for the Museum, members of the RAF Rugby 7’s team will be taking the challenge to new heights when they attempt to complete more than 500K in just 24 hours!
Since the Challenge launched in January, more than 4,700 participants from around the world have used the Lancaster Challenge as motivation to keep them moving during lockdown. There is still time to register and reach your chosen distance, before the challenge closes on 17 May, the anniversary of the Lancaster’s famous Operation Chastise, better known as the Dambusters Raid, and then get your hands on the bespoke Lancaster Challenge medal.
RAF personnel stationed across the UK and overseas, are showing their support for the Museum’s virtual event by taking part, none more so than the RAF Rugby 7’s. While the majority of the team members are already clocking up the kilometres, walking, running and cycling their way through the start of 2021, on Friday 21 May two teams of RAF Rugby 7’s players will undertake the mammoth task of competing day and night, by foot or in the saddle, to complete their 500K Challenge in just 24 hours.
This huge fundraising effort to help keep the RAF Museum ‘flying’, will be run in line with the latest government guidelines. A cycling team will set off from RAF Museum Cosford in Shropshire, cycling the 135km route to the Derwent Reservoir, Derbyshire, where they will join the running team completing relay laps of the reservoir, and together they will continue for the remaining hours of the challenge. The reservoir is significant for the Lancaster having been selected by the RAF’s celebrated 617 Squadron to perform low-level practice sorties in Lancaster’s, in preparation for Operation Chastise and the use of their ‘bouncing bombs’.
Find out more about the RAF Rugby 7 members taking part in this extraordinary take on the Lancaster Challenge and how you can support them at rafmuseum.org.
RAF Museum Individual Giving Manager, Abi Betteridge said: “We are delighted to have the RAF Rugby 7’s team supporting the challenge in this rather unique way, and we look forward to cheering them on as they set of from Cosford in May. The team are not only working hard training in preparation for the Challenge, they are also working hard to fundraise. The impact of the pandemic and closure of our two Museums has been immense. We estimate that the crisis has reduced our total self-generated income by over £3M and this figure continues to grow whilst we continue to be closed to the public.
Sponsorship from the RAF Rugby 7’s and more than 250 individual Lancaster Challenge fundraisers will enable the RAF Museum, as a registered charity, to continue to share the stories of the crews who showed incredible bravery flying missions for Bomber Command, and the wider RAF story, to engage, inspire and encourage future learning. So far, in addition to entry fee’s, we have raised over £29,000 plus £5,000 in Gift Aid, we had originally set a target of £30,000, so we are well on our way to exceeding this. Anyone wanting to support the Rugby 7’s can do so by visiting their JustGiving page.”
If you are looking for some inspiration to get outdoors and get moving now Spring is on its way, it’s not too late to sign up. As a virtual event, the Lancaster Challenge can be completed anywhere, anytime, to fit in with your daily routine either individually, or with members of your household bubble. To join the 4,700 Challenge participants go to rafmuseum.org, simply choose whether to complete 80K, 150K or 500K, record your distance on the downloadable log sheet and once the Challenge closes on 17 May you will be rewarded with an exclusive, Lancaster Challenge medal!
Participants can stay connected, meet other Challengers and share their progress as they complete the Challenge by joining the RAF Museum Virtual Running Group on Facebook. When sharing updates on social media, Tag @rafmuseum in your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or with #LancasterChallenge2021.
Limited edition Lancaster Challenge T-shirts are also available to purchase when registering online. The souvenir T-shirts cost £14.00 and will be delivered with your medal following the end of the challenge. Sizes range from small to XX Large. Or why not join the Museum’s growing team of fundraisers, pledge to raise £80 for the RAF Museum and receive your souvenir Lancaster Challenge t-shirt for free. Select the sponsorship option when signing up online and the Museum’s fundraising team will be in touch with some handy tips to kick start your fundraising.
To register for the Lancaster Challenge visit rafmuseum.org. Entry costs £20 per person, or £17 for Armed Forces Personnel, all proceeds will go towards supporting the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708), additional booking and postage charges apply for overseas participants.