PRESS RELEASE -The Royal Air Force Museum is striding into the New Year with a brand-new virtual challenge, where participants can choose whether to complete 80K, 150K or even 500K.
Registrations for the Lancaster Challenge opened on Saturday 9 January 2021, exactly 80 years since the first test flight of the Avro Lancaster. Whether you need to walk off the Christmas calories, or get outdoors to beat the lockdown blues, participants of the Lancaster Challenge can walk, run, hike, swim, cycle or row their way to the finish line. Participants will have access to a downloadable log sheet to record their 80K, 150K or 500K distance, before being rewarded with an exclusive, Lancaster Challenge medal after the challenge closes on 17 May, the anniversary of Operation CHASTISE, better known as the Dambusters Raid.
As a virtual race, the Lancaster Challenge can be completed anywhere in the world. Within the first 48 hours of registrations opening, more than 1,850 people have signed up to participate, with entries flying in from across the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, America, Singapore and Thailand. The Armed Forces Community are also showing their support for the Challenge with more than 400 Armed Forces Personnel already taking part.
Online registration is now open at rafmuseum.org, entry costs £20 per person and all proceeds will go towards supporting the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708) to enable the Museum to continue sharing the RAF story – past, present and future.
RAF Museum London Public Events Manager, Ella Hewitt said: “The Lancaster Challenge was due to start on the 2 March, 79 years since the Lancaster’s first mission with the RAF, but we want to keep people motivated and moving in lockdown, so you can begin the challenge as soon as you sign up! Whether you choose to complete 80K, 150K or 500K, participants can select the distance to suit their ability and complete it anytime, anywhere, individually, or with members of their household bubble. The Challenge is open to participants of all ages, but we do recommend under 16’s are accompanied by an adult.”
This year’s bespoke medal design features the Lancaster, arguably the most famous, and certainly the most successful heavy bomber operated by the RAF during the Second World War. With an impressive performance and excellent flying characteristics, the Lancaster soon established its superiority over its rivals. Indeed, it was described by Marshal of the RAF, Sir Arthur Harris, Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, as ‘the greatest single factor in winning the war’. The Lancaster on display at RAF Museum London, known as S for ‘Sugar’ has a distinguished operational record having flown 139 missions during the Second World War.
RAF Museum CEO Maggie Appleton said: “During these difficult times, looking after our mental and physical health is important for us all. Key to planning our recovery during the next few weeks and months is that we concentrate more than ever on looking after ourselves and each other and that is why we are encouraging all our staff to take time-out of their day, while working from home, to get outdoors and enjoy some daily exercise. Our staff will be leading the way by participating in the Lancaster Challenge and we hope families, participants from our previous challenge events, along with our friends in the RAF and partner organisations will join us. Support from our Challengers enables us to keep the doors of our Museums open for all generations to enjoy.”
Participants can stay connected and make new friends as they complete the Challenge by joining the RAF Museum Virtual Running Group on Facebook. Meet other Challengers, share your progress and ask fellow participants for advice. However you choose to complete the challenge, the Museum would love to hear from you! 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 consider fundraising for the RAF Museum, pledge to raise £80 and receive your souvenir Lancaster Challenge t-shirt for free, delivered with your medal at the end of the challenge. Starting your fundraising could not be simpler, select the sponsorship option when signing up online and head to our Lancaster Challenge JustGiving page. Once you have set up your JustGiving page, our 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, additional booking and postage charges apply for overseas participants.