17 Challenges To Take On In 2021 & Beyond

Stuck in a rut, bored or need a new focus? A challenge that takes you out of your comfort zone might be the trick. Whether you’re up for something physical or just want to see what you’re made of mentally, here’s all the inspiration you need – and even better, you may raise a bit of money for charity in the process.
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Swim 22

Whether you want to start regular exercise, lose weight or simply reignite your love of swimming, Swim22 is a fantastic way of getting fit while raising vital funds for Diabetes UK. With three distances to choose from, you can take the challenge at your own pace in your local pool over three months – individually or as a team. ‘The Half’, which is half the distance to France, is an impressive 11-mile feat, while the ‘The Full’ is the entire distance of the English Channel, the most popular choice. Finally, ‘The Double’ – to France and back – is only for the more adventurous. Whichever distance you choose, you’ll be diving into a challenge knowing each length you complete will lead to a healthier you and a better future for people living with diabetes.
 
22nd July to 22nd October 2021
 
Visit Swim22.Diabetes.org.uk 

Peak District: Pick Your Path

Brand new for 2021, join Marie Curie in the beautiful Peak District to choose from one of three distinct Peak District routes, all to raise money to help people living with terminal illness across the UK. The 11-mile Lathkill Loop is the shortest but still challenging route, which dives into the steep-sided gulley of the Lathkill Reserve and along the River Bradford before cutting across the rolling fields back towards Monyash. Meanwhile, the 20-mile Tissington Loop passes through the scenic village of Middleton and along the old railway lines that criss-cross the Peak District. Finally, the 26-mile High Peak Loop is the ultimate challenge: an ambitious marathon-distance trek that shows off the stunning scenery, taking in the rolling farmland around the village of Biggin, the picturesque river Dove and the village of Hartington. Participants can swap to a shorter route at any point, in case you start to tire. 
 
24th July 2021, Peak District 
 
Visit MarieCurie.org.uk

Game On

Team GB and the British Red Cross are joining forces to achieve extraordinary things – and the good news is you can be a part of it this summer. Competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is the challenge of a lifetime for many top athletes and the Game On campaign is your chance to back Team GB by getting out of your comfort zone and raising vital funds for the British Red Cross. Either go solo or team up with the family to do something worth sponsoring from 23rd July to 8th August – from marathons and burpees, to Olympic-style team sports, you can check out different challenge ideas here. You’ve then got 17 days to push yourself and go for gold with Team GB, right up until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games closing ceremony.
 
23rd July to 8th August, Nationwide
 
Visit GameOn.RedCross.org.uk

Longest Day Golf Challenge

So, the longest day of the year might have been and gone, but cancer charity Macmillan is urging its supporters to gather together a team of up to four people for a day of golf on your favourite course on any day this summer. Macmillan are asking you to take on 72 holes to raise money to support their invaluable work, so you’ll likely need all the daylight you can get – plus, they’ll send your regular club all the information they need to get on board. 
 
Summer 2021, Nationwide
 
Visit LongestDayGolf.Macmillan.org

Snowdon Triple Challenge

Grab this opportunity to pit yourself against the spectacular landscape of Snowdonia National Park in this tough and exciting multi-activity challenge. Taking in the summit of Wales’ highest mountain, over the course of a single day, you’ll push yourself across a variety of terrains. You’ll challenge yourself mentally and physically as you take on some of the most demanding landscapes in Britain on foot, by bike and in a kayak. The trip may be short, but it is far from a walk in the park as you confront steep climbs and gruelling hills over the 36km route.
 
20th-21st August 2021, Snowdonia
 
Visit CharityChallenge.com

The Vitality Big Half

Albeit delayed until 22nd August, The Vitality Big Half is back for another year in 2021. The half-marathon race takes place in central London, following a unique route including iconic landmarks, starting at Tower Bridge and finishing by The Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Just be aware there’s a £30 registration fee and a minimum fundraising threshold of £350 for this one, so you’ll be tested more than physically if you want to take part.
 
22nd August 2021, Tower Bridge
 
Visit TheBigHalf.co.uk

Memory Walk

This family-friendly sponsored walk is a great way to make a real difference to people affected by the perils of dementia. It’s free to sign up and accessible to all, with walks taking place up and down the country. Kicking off from September, there are up to 20 walks to choose from – simply head to the Alzheimer’s Society website to find out which are happening closest to you. Failing that, you can register to undertake your own walk on 19th September along with the Alzheimer’s Society – or any day that month – and you'll get a digital fundraising pack, plus a Memory Walk t-shirt in the post.
 
Various dates in September 2021, Nationwide
 
Visit Alzheimers.org.uk

Whitby Coastal Trek

This 12-mile trek starts from Whitby and heads out onto the historic Cinder Track, which follows the old railway that ran to Scarborough before it was closed in 1965. Upon reaching the beautiful fishing hamlet of Robin Hoods Bay, you'll join the Cleveland Way and its dramatic coastal path with views of the North Sea and the North Yorkshire countryside. Your trek will finish by descending the 199 steps of Whitby Abbey, the very spot where Bram Stoker's Dracula reached England's shores in the classic 1897 novel. Just be aware this route has its fair share of challenging ascents and descents throughout, but don't fear, you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of views throughout – plus, the knowledge that every step you take will be helping to fund vital hours of nursing care.
 
4th September 2021, Whitby
 
Visit MarieCurie.org.uk

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South Coast Challenge 

Take on some of England’s finest scenery with an Eastbourne start, up Beachy Head, over the magnificent Seven Sisters and along the famous South Downs Way, to Brighton at the mid-way point. Devil’s Dyke and a few ups and downs all lie ahead before Arundel’s historic castle comes into view after an amazing 100km journey. Not for the faint-hearted, the South Coast Challenge takes place this autumn, with half, quarter and even virtual options available for participants. You’ll also get full support and hospitality the entire way.
 
4th-5th September 2021, South Downs Way
 
Visit UltraChallenge.com

The Thames Path Challenge

The Thames Path Challenge follows the route of one of England's most well-known rivers. While most participants walk it, others jog or run to push themselves. The full 100km route heads from Putney Bridge past Hampton Court to Runnymede of Magna Carta fame at 50km, then on past the historic scenery all the way to Henley. With half and quarter distance options available, there's a challenge to suit everyone. There's also the Thames Bridges Trek – a 25km walk through the heart of London, zig zagging over 16 famous bridges with views of the capital's most famous landmarks – as well as The Thames Moonlight 10 Walk which sets off from Oval Cricket Ground on Friday evening. Finally, The Henley 10K will leave the organiser’s riverside base on Sunday 12th September and is open to all the family.
 
11th & 12th September 2021, Putney
 
Visit UltraChallenge.com

Swim Serpentine

Swim two miles, one mile, half a mile or a full six as part of this event organised by London Marathon Events. A festival held in and around the beautiful Serpentine in Hyde Park, the venue for the open water swimming competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games, this swim is considered a must-do event in the open water swimming calendar. All your needs are catered for with heated changing rooms, a dunk zone, pontoon start and finish, a full water safety crew, hot tubs and exhibition area. Plus, you can raise money for a charity of your choice or Nerve Tumours UK.
 
18th September 2021, Hyde Park

 
Visit NerveTumours.org.uk

Chiltern 50 Challenge

This end-of-season challenge takes in some of the best of the Chilterns countryside, with historic trails, nature reserves, forests, and a few hills with fantastic views. Starting and finishing at ‘base camp’ in Henley, there’s a Saturday night celebration BBQ and entertainment on offer, with extensive on-site camping and parking options, too, so you can make a weekend of it. Choose from 10km, 25km or 50km loops, depending on the degree of challenge you’re looking for. Either way, you’re guaranteed a route with real variety and some wonderful scenery – and it’s all easily accessible from London. You’ll get full support and hospitality all the way.
 
25th September 2021, Henley
 
Visit UltraChallenge.com

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

Just because this one doesn’t require intense physical exertion doesn’t make it any less of a challenge. This year’s event will take place in late September, encouraging fundraisers to gather friends (relative to current guidelines) to host a coffee morning in aid of cancer charity Macmillan. With options to host inside, out or online, head to Macmillan’s website to sign up and receive your fundraising kit – choose from two: the classic with bunting, balloons and a tablecloth, or the lighter, more environmentally-friendly version with less paper and zero plastic.
 
24th September 2021, Nationwide
 
Visit Coffee.Macmillan.org.uk

13 Tors Challenge 2021

You'll start your morning by receiving your map and tor checkpoint card, before heading out to explore more than 14 miles of Dartmoor's rugged landscape. The inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Hound of the Baskervilles, there’s plenty of myth and legend surrounding these hills. To keep you on track, expert guides and volunteers will help you make sure you navigate across the moors with ease, until you reach the summit. From here you'll return to base where there’s only one way to celebrate such an achievement in the heart of Devon, with a delicious and well-earned traditional cream tea. If you decide to raise money for charity – specifically with Marie Curie – every step you take, and every tor you reach, will help provide care and support for people living with a terminal illness and their families.
 
10th October 2021, Widecombe in the Moor, Devon
 
Visit MarieCurie.org.uk

RAFA Jumps

Ever wanted to jump out of an aeroplane? Join a team of professional RAF skydive instructors at their home base, RAF Weston on the Green, and raise funds for the RAF Association in the process. As part of your tandem skydive, you’ll spend the whole day undertaking interactive activities like a parachute packing demo and formation skydive training. Once on board, the aircraft will climb to a height of 13,000 feet and as you freefall, you’ll feel the pure adrenaline pumping through your body. Once the parachute opens, enjoy the peaceful course down and take in the phenomenal views. Just be aware that all participants will be required to complete either a self-certification medical form or present a medical form completed by your doctor. If weather conditions on the day aren’t suitable, the jump may be postponed for safety reasons.
 
Dates throughout the year, Bicester

 
Visit RAFA.org.uk

National Three Peaks Challenge

This event is the perfect way for small groups and individuals to complete a challenge with the help of experienced mountain guides and support staff. Groups of around ten will travel and walk together, led by a guide, and are made up of people with similar levels of fitness. Over the course of two days, you’ll climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – the three highest peaks in the British Isles – leaving you with an enormous sense of achievement. The challenge trip costs £349 per person, including a deposit of £70 required to reserve places, with dates available throughout the year – although these tend to book up fast, so don’t hesitate.
 
Dates throughout the year, Fort William, Scotland
 
Visit ThreePeaksChallenge.uk 

The Moon Walk, London

The original night charity walk organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, The Moon Walk sees participants walk through London at night in decorated bras to raise awareness of and money for breast cancer research. Choose between either the half-moon walk,which is 15.1 miles, or the full-moon walk, which is 26.2 miles. For your entry fee, you’ll get a free bra and t-shirt, a detailed training plan, a reflective cap and a medal. Plus, there’s plenty of support along the way to ensure you reach the finish line. 
 
14th May 2022, Clapham Common
 
Visit WalkTheWalk.org

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