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New challenge launched to keep residents moving after this year's Downham Games is cancelled

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Organisers of the annual Downham Games have launched a new community challenge after announcing that this year's event is cancelled.

Downham Games – which sees hundreds of people try out new activities and participate in sporting challenges – was due to be held on June 7 in the town, but it has been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But, not wanting to leave the event's supporters with nothing this year and on the back of a successful step challenge last year, officials have launched The Downham Games 150 Challenge.

Downham Games 2019. Freddie Pepper, 6.
Downham Games 2019. Freddie Pepper, 6.

Organiser Frances Rayner said:"Adults are recommended to take part in 150 minutes of physical activity in a week and children 60 minutes a day (five to 18 years).

"Our challenge is just that – for eight weeks – to work at getting to the recommended daily/weekly amount and exceeding where possible."

A post on the Downham Games Facebook page said: "During this challenging time there is nothing better than to get active – physical activity is not only essential for our bodies but during this period of unknown it is essential for our mental wellbeing. This is a challenge not a competition."

Downham Games 2019
Downham Games 2019

It adds: "Government guidance at this time is to stay in your own homes as much as possible.

"Walking, cycling and running is of course part of your minutes but we want you to get creative and get active at home using your gardens, your homes, your workout videos, DVDs, gardening, housework and home maintenance counts, it's anything that gets your body moving."

The Downham Games 150 Challenge now has a dedicated Facebook group with posts explaining the challenge in more detail and examples of the sorts of physical activities people can get complete – at home or during their daily exercise outdoors – over the coming weeks.

Downham Games 2019
Downham Games 2019

For those who do not have social media, there is also an email address – Thedownhamgames@gmail.com – for people to contact organisers to express their interest and then send in their minutes on a weekly basis.

Frances said at the end of the challenge, they will be giving everyone who took part a Downham Games 2020 medal.

"There will be no charge for this and we will cover the costs with funds that we have raised from last year," she added.

"We do not want anyone disadvantaged or not taking part because they think they cannot pay for a medal for themselves or their family."

Local fitness professionals are also sharing videos for people to follow on the Facebook group.

"Everything in the group will be without cost and we will try to give some daily ideas of what can be done," Frances said.

"As we get into it we want people to add some videos and comments of their own so we can see what people are doing."

People can share their videos, stories and photos by using the hashtag #DG150challenge.

Downham Games was first set up in 2012 as a tribute to the Olympic Games in London, but has continued to grow and become an annual fixture of the events calendar in Downham.

This will be the first year the event has not taken place since then, but organisers already have a date set for next year which will mark the event's 10th year – June 6, 2021.

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