England’s physical disability cricketers have taken on an energy-sapping challenge during lockdown – they are running a collective marathon each day for 10 days.
Inspired by the 2.6 Challenge, the 14-strong squad is raising money for Lord’s Taverners, the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, and sponsorship has already surpassed £1,000.
Callum Flynn, 25, is coordinating the squad, who are keeping in touch via social media and sharing their exploits via tracking apps.
Flynn, who had a titanium-knee replacement in 2009 after being diagnosed with bone cancer on his 14th birthday, has been running 5km every day.
Even those shielded from taking exercise outside due to medical conditions are doing their bit.
Batsman Matt Askin, 33, who was hospitalised last year with asthma, has been tackling his own daily run in the garden, with his mapping data resembling a spider’s web.
“It’s been a bit tricky,” he laughs. “The garden’s a good size, however it’s on three levels and one of those is dominated by my three-year-old son’s massive climbing frame, so that’s been mildly challenging.”
The first three days’ tallies – 44, 38.3 and 42 miles respectively – suggest the 260-mile target will be easily exceeded.
One of the more innovative approaches has been that of quick bowler James Nordin, who ran his most recent 2.6 stint in full England kit (and helmet) between a 22-yard strip in his garden.
Also raising the bar is spinner Danny Hamm, a team-mate Flynn has known since they first teamed up with the England set-up as 16-year-olds.
Back then the pair were referred to – fondly, Flynn adds – as Fatty #1 and #2.
“Danny has been setting the standard for us all with his efforts,” said Flynn, who coaches on the Taverners’ Super 1s programme, a series of nationwide hubs for 12-25-year-olds.
“The original idea was for a few of us to go out every day, and some on odd days, getting the miles covered that way but everyone has bought into it.
“It’s getting quite competitive – we’re not really fussed about setting a target for raising money.
“We’ll just give it our best shot. It’ll all help for something at a time when a lot of people need help.”