Run for Heroes raises record breaking £3m and CEO donation covers fees

Run For Heroes – the fundraising campaign that encourages people to use their daily exercise to run or walk 5km, donate £5 and nominate five people - has raised over 3 million for NHS Charities Together.

By Caitlyn Dewar
Friday, 17th April 2020, 3:39 pm
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 4:10 pm
Olivia Strong is the Edinburgh born founder of the campaign

Since the campaign was first unveiled on Instagram on 28 March, over 500,000 people from across the globe have taken part, including Olympic legend Sir Mo Farah, Ellie Goulding, John Terry, Jessie Ware, Laura Whitmore, Adwoa Aboah, Johnny Bairstow, Nick Grimshaw, Clara Amfo, Chris Moyles, Lynsey sharp and many more.

Donations for the campaign doubled in just one day, raising a further £1million from over 80,000 separate donations. The quantity of donations and total raised has far surpassed Virgin Money Giving records for an individual volunteer page.

Run For Heroes was launched by Olivia Strong, a 27-year-old woman from Edinburgh, who hoped to raise money to support the NHS workers in their ongoing fight against COVID-19.

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All proceeds will be donated to NHS Charities Together – a national appeal to protect the welfare of NHS staff and help them in their fight against the virus. Olivia’s initial target for the campaign was just £5k.

All participants are asked to donate £5 via the Run For Heroes Virgin Money Giving page and then spread the message even further by sharing a picture of themselves exercising on Instagram, tagging @Run.For.Heroes and nominating five of their friends to also take part and donate.

Olivia Strong, founder of Run For Heroes, says: “It brings tears to my eyes to see everyone coming together for the NHS and creating a community of positivity and support during this time. Initially, the goal was to raise £5k.

“I cannot thank all the people who have participated in the campaign enough. They’ve spread the word to over 500,000 runners globally! I am also so grateful to all the initial runners who kickstarted it! As well as my friends and family who are very much behind the campaign too.”

As the campaign gained traction, social media vigilantes interpreting the platform’s terms have made claims that Virgin founder Richard Branson, who sued the NHS in 2016, is profiteering through the not-for-profit’s platform fees which are charged at 2 per cent.

Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit company and is part of Virgin Money UK plc.

A Virgin Money Giving spokesperson said: “We are proud to play our part in helping the nation support our NHS heroes, and we’ve been blown away by everyone’s amazing efforts - over £3.2 million so far has been donated to Run for Heroes through Virgin Money Giving.

“Virgin Money Giving doesn’t ever make a profit on donations. The small fee covers the cost of running the service and there’s a processing fee charged by card providers. Recognising the fantastic work of our NHS heroes in this extraordinary time, Virgin Money CEO David Duffy has also donated a portion of his salary to enable us to remove our platform fee for the NHS campaign”.