It’s all very well making a commitment to get fitter, but sometimes you need a little something else to spur you on. If that something is raising cash for a good cause while you hone your muscles by running up stairs, swimming in the sea or racing to the top of Snowdon under moonlight, then these charitable events might help you reach your fitness goals – and give you a pang of pride that you’re doing some good, too.

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Charity Challenges 2017

Royal Marines’ Charity Commando Series

Coming straight out of the Commando test book, this 6km or 12km test of endurance is littered with 18 of the toughest obstacles the UK’s hardiest servicemen tackle in their training. Yep, you’re right to cower in fear. There are cave crawls, mud slides and suspended river crossings to take on around Hever Castle in Kent. If you fancy going full Commando, there’s the option to make it a two-dayer thanks to an ace-sounding Bivouac Experience. 11th-12th November 2017, sign up at commandoseries.co.uk

National Literacy Trust’s Arctic Challenge

This weekend-long team challenge in the Arctic Circle has it all, with teams competing in a variety of events to claim the coveted National Literacy Trust Arctic Cup. On the agenda is a 35km dog-sledding race, a 25km Nordic ski, ice fishing, orienteering, fire lighting and a quiz on literature. That’s right, you can’t get by on brawn alone – you also need to know your Dickens from your Dostoyevsky, your Tolstoy from your Tolkien, your Brontë from your Brontë from your Brontë. So if you have a bookworm colleague who also happens to be a master husky-wrangler, it’s time to start convincing them that Lapland is a great place to visit in December. 1st-4th December, sign up at literacytrust.org.uk

Charity Challenges 2018

Lake District 8 Peak Challenge

Summit eight peaks – including England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike – in just 48 hours. Although this would undoubtedly be a tougher challenge in the Himalayas, don’t underestimate the difficulty of clambering up some of the Lake District’s toughest peaks, with all eight topping 3,000ft (914m). You’ll cover around 31km on foot over the two days and get a chance to take in some of the very best views in the UK. 3rd-6th May 2018, sign up at meningitisnow.org

Sierra Leone Marathon

Running a marathon for a good cause is always a rewarding experience, but this trip differs in that during the five days you spend in Sierra Leone, you’ll get to see first-hand the work that the charity Street Child does by visiting projects in rural and urban areas, and speaking to the people supported by the charity. You will also have to run a marathon in 30°C heat and 90% humidity, so take it slow and soak up the amazing atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings of the event. 23rd-28th May 2018, sign up at sierraleonemarathon.com

The Cateran Yomp

We’ll take the name word by word, because it’s likely to be baffling to most people (we’ll assume you’re OK with “the”). A cateran is a warrior from the Scottish Highlands and it’s also the first word in Cateran Trail, a spectacular circular walking route in said Highlands. If you didn’t know what a yomp is, you may have an inkling by now – it’s a military term for a long walk. Long in this case means 87km (54 miles) in 24 hours across rugged and muddy terrain if you opt for the gold option, 58km (36 miles) if you tackle the silver and 35.4km (22 miles) if you plump for bronze, and you’ll cover the trail as part of a team of three to six people. 9th-10th June 2018, sign up at soldierscharity.org

Glasgow To Edinburgh Trek

A mere 100km separates Scotland’s two largest cities – easy by car or train, but a heck of a long way to walk. You get 30 hours to complete the distance, hiking through the night to finish the trek in time. Allow at least one of those precious 30 hours to take pictures of the Falkirk wheel, which is the only rotating boat lift in the world. That might not sound that impressive, but once you see its massive size and watch it in action, it’s all you’ll talk about for the rest of the walk. 21st-22nd July 2018, sign up at bhf.org.uk

London To Paris Cycle Tour de France Edition

Cycling from London to Paris is a charity challenge classic – you probably know at least one person who’s done it already. One-up them (in the name of a good cause) by timing your arrival in the French capital to coincide with the final stage of the Tour de France so you can watch the pros finish live on the Champs Élysées – as long as you don’t slack off on that final day and miss it. You don’t have to ride quite as far the stars of Le Tour to make it to Paris, but cycling 531km in four days is no mean feat. 25th-29th July 2018, sign up at teenagecancertrust.org

RECOMMENDED: UK Cycling Events

Race The Sun Lake District

You have from sunrise to sunset to complete this unique triathlon, a fundraiser for Action Medical Research For Children. That works out at roughly 14 hours of daylight to complete an 80km cycle, hike to the top of England’s second-highest mountain, Helvellyn (950m), and canoe 3km on Lake Thirlmere. You’ll be working as a team of four, so recruit three pals and get training. 1st September 2018, sign up at action.org.uk/race-sun

MS Society Ride Across Britain

Video of Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2018

This one’s a whopper. A real bucket list ticker. The world-famous Land’s End to John o’ Groats pedal-powered nine-dayer, taking in 969 miles (1,560km) of Great British scenery through 23 counties. The MS Society has put everything in place to ensure you have all the support you need to make it to the last (or first, if you’re a Caithness native) spit of our island, with overnight accommodation through the ride all taken care of. One to tell the grandkids about, for sure. And one to raise some serious dollar, as well. Starts 8th September 2018, sign up at mssociety.org.uk

BHF London to Brighton Off-Road Bike Ride

The British Heart Foundation claims their 74-mile city to coast mountain biking pedal pusher, “has it all”. And since Europe’s largest charity off-road cycling event includes steep forest inclines, technical descents, rocky paths and muddy single tracks, they’re not fibbing. Cough up the very reasonable £35 entry fee and raise over £100, and you not only get a marshaled route to romp over, mechanical support at all times, training tips, drinks and eats en-route, and a big finishing line party, but a bleedin’ massage once you hop out of your saddle, too. They’re talking our language. 22nd September 2018, sign up at bhf.org.uk

Thames Bridges Bike Ride

The longest ride of the three on offer crosses 18 of London’s bridges, from Hampton Court Bridge in the south-west to Tower Bridge in the heart of the city. Cyclists on the challenge route ride 55 miles (88.5km) in total, so if that sounds too much you might fancy the classic 35-mile (56km) route, which runs from Chiswick Bridge to Tower Bridge, or even the mini eight-miler (13km) between Chiswick Bridge and Hammersmith Bridge. Whichever you choose you’ll be helping to raise funds for the Stroke Association. 30th September 2018, sign up at stroke.org.uk

…Or Just Do It Yourself

If you’re not into group participation, don’t worry: technology has removed the need to actually enter a race to do good. Fitness app Charity Miles lets you turn hard-won cyber points into currency, which you can then donate to nine charities including Autism Speaks, Stand Up to Cancer and Habitat for Humanity. Walking and running earn 25 cents (around 16p) per mile, cycling earns 10 cents per mile and corporate sponsors will donate what you’ve earned. Sign up at charitymiles.org