Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, chief executive of The Queen’s Nursing Institute, walked a marathon on Saturday 25th April to raise funds for the charity.

The fundraiser was part of the national effort being organised by the London Marathon and UK charities – ‘Challenge 2.6’ on 25th and 26th April.

The Challenge encouraged charities to raise funds in multiples of 26 – the same number of miles as a marathon and Dr Oldman was seeking to raise £2600 by walking a total of 26 miles over the two days.  She posted updates of the challenge on Twitter over the course of the weekend.


The QNI is facing a major fall in income at the same time as nurses are most in need, due to the impact of the Covid19 outbreak. Many nurses in the community are facing unprecedented challenges, adapting quickly to care for large numbers of patients in new ways. This is causing huge personal and professional stress for nurses of all backgrounds, including those who work within and who support care homes, nurses who work with homeless people, and all of the most vulnerable groups in our society.
All charities have seen a big drop in income because of the Covid-19 crisis and the QNI is no exception: it is likely that our income this year will fall by over half. I am absolutely passionate that we must continue to provide the same level of support that we have done to community nurses for over 130 years, and which is needed now more than ever."

Dr Crystal Oldman

All the money raised will go towards supporting the QNI’s new Listening Service, a new initiative to offer emotional support to all nurses working in the community and social care settings. Trained members of staff, most of whom are Queen’s Nurses, will be staffing the new Listening Service, which launches on Monday 27th April.

We are delighted to announce that Crystal raised nearly £9000 for the Listening Service! 

Walking the Marathon was much, much harder than I anticipated. I started out at 6am on Saturday thinking that I would walk a half marathon that morning and the other half on Sunday morning. After 3 miles of dawdling and enjoying the early morning birdsong and the tranquillity of the garden, I realised that I had to speed up or I would be in the garden after dark! By 13 miles at 11.30am, I was on an adrenaline high, nothing hurt and I thought ‘no problem – I’ve got this – a marathon in one day, how hard can this be? Others run 26 miles in way less time than I have walked half a marathon!’

I had failed to acknowledge at that point that others train to run this distance for months! Whilst I fast walk around 3 miles every day, that is not training for a 26mile walk in a day! But once I had started the second half, I had to finish the 26 miles. The next 13 miles took a little longer than the first and I was very pleased to see the ‘finishing line’ placed there by Mr O.

The support I received from messages throughout the day kept me spurred on – and despite cramp, aching cruciate ligaments and complaining hips – I am so pleased to have completed the marathon and raised funds for the new QNI Listening Service which commences today.

Thank you so much to each and every person who donated so generously to the QNI to support this new service. The amount raised has enabled more than 100 community nurses to have a safe space to share their experiences and gain emotional support from our trained listeners - and we will continue to seek further funding to enable to service to continue into the coming months.

Dr Crystal Oldman

Crystal after her #QNIMarathon


Notes to Editors

To follow Dr Crystal Oldman on Twitter: @CrystalOldman @TheQNI #TwoPointSixChallenge @LondonMarathon

To sponsor Crystal visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/crystal-oldman

For more information about the support the QNI offers to nurses, visit: https://www.qni.org.uk/help-for-nurses/

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