Now that the JustTextGiving North vs South challenge has crossed the finish line, it's time to find out just how much our runners have raised for charity...

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The JustTextGiving Fittest Fundraiser challenge wasn’t the only Vodafone fundraising campaign to come to an end this month, with the JustTextGiving North Vs South challenge also drawing to a close after months of sporting banter, and over £23,000 raised for charity, from two fantastic teams

Missed the story so far? The JustTextGiving North vs South challenge saw Olympian Iwan Thomas and Spice Girl Mel C sign up to captain two teams in a unique fundraising battle

 

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The challenge took in two of the world’s most popular running events – the Bupa Great North Run and the Bupa Great South Run, with Team North and Team South pitted against each other to see who could raise the most money for their charities.

Final tallies

So how did each team fare? Over the past six months, Team North have raised a staggering £18,000, thanks in part to massive contributions from team members Robyn Hadley and Sue Genault, while Team South added another £5,000 to the fundraising total.

Robyn’s total came courtesy of a number of clever fundraising ideas, including a Cream Tea and Duck Race – complete with 200 plastic ducks. As with the other fundraisers, Robyn also took to Twitter to spend time really shouting out about her JustTextGiving code.

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It was the people involved who really made this challenge, and we’re proud to have met some of the most inspirational fundraisers around. Now that the dust has settled and everyone’s had a chance to recover, we thought we’d catch up with some of our runners and see how they found it.

George Nicholson of Team North is probably the runner with the most impressive history among the group – this year was the 33rd year in a row that George has competed in the Great North Run.

George says that getting the local press on board was one of the toughest parts about his fundraising, pointing out that it was difficult to get their attention with so many other news stories out there. “Each year I find it becomes a bit harder to try and find a ‘wow’ factor.

“No longer can I just rely on saying ‘I’m running a half-marathon again this year, please sponsor me’, It requires a new idea or angle each year and that idea needs to be promoted somehow.” This year, says George, the presence of Mel C on his team made a big difference.

Camaraderie and teamwork

Although the amounts raised and charities differed between fundraisers, one constant theme stands out: the friendship and teamwork that came about during the course of the North vs South challenge.

“We set up our own Closed Group on Facebook and communicated freely amongst ourselves,” George tells us. “That way we could share thoughts, ideas, worries and experiences. We are now very firm and – hopefully – long term friends. It’s going to be very difficult to improve on this year; it was as near to perfect as possible.”

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That’s an opinion that’s echoed by all the other fundraisers we spoke to. Fundraiser Mark Staples tells us: “The Great South Run was an amazing day despite the gusty conditions. The whole Team South experience has been amazing, the build-up and friendship amongst us is great.

“I’ve run for nearly two years despite knee ops and doctors’ orders not to.” It’s been worth the risk though, Mark reveals: I’ve raised over £2,000 for charity, including £1,200 and counting for MacMillan.”

“It’s going to be very difficult to improve on this year; it was as near to perfect as possible.”

Fellow Team South runner Kim Ingleby backs up Mark’s sentiments, adding: “The brilliant atmosphere made a big difference, as did knowing that there were so many other fundraisers and Iwan running to raise as much as we could for many worthwhile charities. I’d highly recommend getting a group of friends together to raise money to keep you motivated and on track.”

Aside from the money raised for charity – with Shelter, Cancer Research UK, Beating Bowel Cancer, Acorns Children’s Hospice, Macmillan, Brainstrust, St Clare Hospice and others among the charities set to feel the benefit of our teams’ combined efforts, the North vs South challenge also inspired our fundraisers to go out and make a continued difference in the future.

Laraine Wyn-Jones concludes: “I’ve been running for about three years now, but the Great South Run was one of my best races. It got me motivated to carry on running and entering more races. I’m so pleased with how I did!”

Back to the start… To read more about how Mel C and Iwan Thomas got involved in the North vs South challenge, click here.