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75-mile charity walk adapted to coronavirus guidelines
A charity challenge consisting of a 75 mile trek has been adapted to overcome the threat from coronavirus. The National Forest Trek, launched earlier this year by a trio of charities, will proceed as planned in September this year following a number of necessary changes. After 18 months of work, there were major concerns that the challenge walk, forged by an alliance of the National Forest Company, National Memorial Arboretum and Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Benevolent Fund, would be unable to proceed. But the plans have now been revised so the charities will still receive valuable sponsorship income, which is needed more than ever to support their work. Participants in the challenge event will embark on a three-day adventure from September 18 to 20 along the National Forest Way, which opened in May 2014 and covers 75 miles of public and permissive footpaths through the National Forest from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. The event will now be exclusive to 100 people and it has been adapted to ensure the event can be delivered safely and in accordance with any local or national restrictions.
The logo for the National Forest Trek in September
New measures to ensure the safety of all involved include the staged departure of walkers for each portion of the trek and processes to ensure safe travel, social distancing, personal hygiene and COVID-safe event services and facilities. The organisers will continue to monitor circumstances to make any necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of the 100 participants and their supporters, as well as the event delivery team of event staff, volunteers and venue personnel. The £75 entry fee for the three-day experience remains unchanged and participants will continue to be encouraged to raise a minimum of £400 in donations to be split between the three charities. There is also a separate two-day challenge over a course of 45 miles and a one-day event comprising 20 miles. Both the three-day (75 miles) and two-day challenges are open to everyone over the age of 18, with the one-day walk open to over 14s. Details of all trek options can be found at www.nationalforesttrek.co.uk
Jack Buckner, Chair of National Forest Trek partnership steering group and Board Trustee of the National Forest, said: "Given the latest government advice and easing of restrictions, we anticipate that by September, events of this scale and nature will be permitted, and we are confident that we can deliver a safe and enjoyable experience for participants using this revised format. Ultimately, we will only deliver the event if it is safe and responsible to do so and as such, all plans are subject to change. We are sad that we've had to reduce the size of the event, however this exclusive experience will still offer an exciting and transformative journey through the varied and inspirational landscape of the National Forest. The funds raised by participants for three amazing charities are now even more important due to the current economic uncertainty."