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Medical students from the University of Birmingham’s Medical Society have teamed up with doctors on the front line as part of a sports competition that has seen over £25,000 raised for charitable causes.

The inter-team competition brought together current students, many of whom are supporting the NHS on the frontline during the COVID-19 crisis, along with ex-members of the society who are now fully qualified doctors. Competing individually and often in between shifts, the aim was to run, cycle, swim and even canoe as far as possible in one week, with results for each team member collected and shared on a leader board over the week.

In total 450 athletes from six of the societies largest sports teams took part, collectively travelling over 37,000km over seven days.  The money raised will be donated to a number of charities, chosen by each of the clubs, including NHS Charities Together, Birmingham Mind, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Refuge and The CALMzone.

Key facts

James Jobling, Charity and Welfare Rep for the University of Birmingham Medical School Football Team, one of the organisers of the competition said: “We set this competition up to encourage everyone to be active and encourage a sense of teamwork in a time where we are all practicing separation. The competitive aspect meant that club members, regardless of age or seniority, motivated and supported one another to push themselves throughout the week.

“With over 450 athletes competing, we thought this would be a great opportunity to raise a significant amount of money for charity. Everybody threw themselves into it, setting challenges for themselves including running a half marathon every day, running the distance of their house to Circo (the bar) over 1700 times and running 1km for every hour their parents worked for the NHS that week. This allowed everyone to share their story on social media, aiding fundraising efforts. Regular leader board updates on social media meant that more people saw the event and donated, contributing to the incredible £25,230 raised!”

The competition is just one of the ways that medical students have rallied to support the wider COVID-19 effort. As well as supporting frontline key workers in hospitals, students have volunteered in community pharmacies and GP surgeries and been trained as 111 call handlers to support the local ambulance service.