The fitness coach Joe Wicks completed a 24-hour live workout accompanied virtually by celebrities and schoolchildren to raise more than £1.5m for BBC Children in Need, completing his marathon by saying he was now “off to bed”.
His interactive Joe Wicks 24-hour PE Challenge saw stars including Louis Theroux, Melanie C, Sam Smith and Dame Kelly Holmes join in as Wicks, AKA The Body Coach, completed a range of activities, from cycling to yoga, boxing to rowing and his signature HIIT (high intensity) workouts.
Wicks, who last month was awarded an MBE for his online workouts during lockdown, said: “I don’t know how I’m still standing. I thought I’d be asleep on the mat.”
Speaking before the challenge, he said he thought the epic keep-fit session was a good way to end a difficult year. “2020 has been a challenging year for us all, so what better way to end it than by raising money for BBC Children in Need, a charity very close to my heart.”
There was a surprise in store when his wife, Rosie, joined him on stage to get him through the final hour, and their children, Indie and Marley, joined online over breakfast.
During the workout Wicks, and the Radio 2 audience, were treated to an exclusive play of the official BBC Children in Need single by Radio 2 Allstars, featuring stars including Cher, Bryan Adams, Kylie and Gregory Porter.
The Olympian long-jumper Greg Rutherford, who joined in the workout, told Wicks: “The difference is I’ve been on for half an hour and you’ve been going for 12 hours, so that’s an Olympic-level lesson from you, Joe.”
The celebrity chef Tom Kerridge asked Joe what he was eating to keep himself going. He said he had lost his appetite, but had been “grazing on crumpets, toast, sushi and a bit of fruit …”
Melanie C, formerly Sporty Spice, joined in for a 15-minute workout, revealing that she and her daughter had got involved in Wicks’s lockdown PE classes. The Olympian Kelly Holmes joined in, after falling ill with Covid-19 just 16 days ago, saying it was the first day she had felt well enough to exercise again.
The US singer Josh Groban improvised during a workout from his Los Angeles kitchen, substituting weights for potatoes and bottles of Californian wine. Meanwhile, Theroux joined Wicks for a “mild korma” of a workout.
As the tally neared £1m, Wicks exclaimed: “If we hit a million, I’m probably gonna pass out on the exercise mat here, but I know we can do it.”
At another point, he said: “I feel like my spine is three inches shorter today.”