At this time of year many of us are hunkered down inside, concocting plans for once-in-a-life-time summer challenges on the South West Coast Path, but how do you make a notion into an exhilarating, sweaty, unforgettable reality? And more than that, how do you make it a successful fundraiser that will help ensure the Path is always there to enjoy?
Here’s our step by step guide to making your challenge happen this summer:
1. Choose a challenging but achievable goal. Perhaps you’d like to walk a certain number of miles of the Path cumulatively over weekends throughout the year, maybe you’d like to train for a trail marathon, or perhaps you are lucky enough to be considering taking a week on the Path over the summer holidays. Whatever it is, write it down, come back to it, test it, think if its something you can, and want to commit to.
2. Set a fundraising target. Be ambitious with this. It never ceases to amaze us here at Coast Path HQ how generous people are when it comes to protecting the Trail. Think about how much you could raise if all of your friends, family and colleagues each sponsored you £10. How much would that amount go up by if you ‘charged’ people to come and walk or run with you for part of your challenge? What total could you achieve if you added a pub quiz, supermarket collection or car boot sale into the mix too? £630, £1 for every mile of the Trail is a great target!
3. Register your Challenge with us. Register your Challenge on our website so our Fundraising Manager can support you on your fundraising journey, and send you a FREE fundraising pack including A3 wall map to inspire you! Remember – we are here to help, even if you are new to fundraising, or feel shy about asking for sponsorship, we can give you hints and tips to make it fun and easy!
4. Create an online fundraising page. Create an online fundraising page – we suggest using Virgin Money Giving as its easy to use and unlike Just Giving, it lets you split your fundraising between multiple charities if that’s what you’d like to do. Its important to put your fundraising target on your page,along with a photo and a few lines about your challenge, those that personalise their pages like this always raise more!
5. Get planning your route, training and spreading the word! You can use our online resources for free (or buy our guidebook here). Every section of the 630 mile Path is described on our website:
- 52 day itinerary here
- Distance calculator here
- Route diversions here
- Baggage transfer and other logistics here
- Fundraising hub here: download resources including sponsorship form, digital logo and poster.
Use these resources to plan and spread the word about your upcoming challenge on social media, in your work email footer, in your local pub or library and via personal messages to your nearest and dearest. Tag us in your training and fundraising photos using @southwestcoastpath #coastpathchallenge.
6. The Trail awaits. Its time to feel amazing! You are going to get up close and personal with the ocean, nature and the beautiful towns and villages of the Coast Path, all the while knowing you are raising vital funds that will keep the way open for future generations to experience and enjoy, just like you.
Who might you see out on the Trail this year? These are some of your fellow 2020 challengers:
Luisa & Eve – The whole Trail, bit by bit. Luisa and Eve want to nourish mind, body and soul, so their challenge is to find stillness working their way around the Path. They say they will “simplify, gain perspective and work hard physically, but without the usual body-battering attitude”. They are fundraising by inviting friends to join them at £10pp on certain stretches. Follow progress on their blog ‘Simply Anxious Adventures’.
Dave – 70 miles for his 70th year…and then some! Dave says he is ‘not a natural fundraiser’, but this superstar actually finished his original challenge at the end of 2019 having raised a whopping £1,500 for the Path through fundraising online and in his local community. He loved the experience so much, that he is going to be carrying on this year!
Jamie – running the entire Trail in one go! The very brave Jamie will be attempting to run the entire South West Coast Path this summer, all 630 miles in one go. He is asking friends and family for sponsorship to support the Association, as he pits his body against the Trail!
If you are working on a plan for a South West Coast Path Challenge this year, please don’t hesitate to hesitate to get in touch to let us know about it so we can help! Happy planning!
Featured Photo by Sam Wardman