St. Margaret’s Hospice has launched the ultimate flexible fitness challenge – a Virtual Marathon.

During February the charity is encouraging people to run or walk 26 miles, whenever and wherever they like. Virtual Marathon participants will be able to record their progress using Strava, Fitbit or manually.

It’s free to sign up and everyone who raises at least £26 in sponsorship will receive a St. Margaret’s Virtual Marathon medal.

Sonia Bateman, events fundraiser at St. Margaret’s Hospice, said: “With our Virtual Marathon, you can run or walk 26 miles in one go or break it down into manageable stages like a mile a day. And you can complete the challenge at a time, place and pace to suit your busy lifestyle and fitness level.

“We’ve teamed up with an online platform called GivePenny to make it easy to track your miles and share this with your friends and family to raise sponsorship. Even if you don’t have a Fitbit or smartphone, you can still log your progress the old fashioned way.

“We’re hoping people will complete the challenge and raise at least £26 so the St. Margaret’s Virtual Marathon can pay for 100 physiotherapy sessions to help our patients with breathlessness management.

“Feeling breathless can be frightening, making the things most of us take for granted too much to face. But with just one session, either in the hospice or in their own homes, our physiotherapists can start to turn this around, enabling our patients to make each day count.”

One in three people in Somerset will need the support of St. Margaret’s Hospice in their lifetime, and the charity needs to raise over £9.5m each year to deliver its care.

Ritchie Cridge, who is running 5km every day for a year to raise funds for St. Margaret’s Hospice, said: “Regular exercise isn’t just about becoming physically fit - there are a lot of psychological benefits as well.

“And if that wasn't enough, completing the Virtual Marathon for St. Margaret’s Hospice will raise money to help others manage their breathlessness through life-changing physiotherapy sessions. So get out and help improve both your quality of life and someone else’s!”

For more information and to sign up for the Virtual Marathon, click here.