Normally at this time of the year, players and staff in the Chelsea Academy would be looking forward to a number of exciting trips abroad to face their counterparts from the biggest club sides in the world at overseas tours and tournaments.

Unfortunately, the global health crisis has thwarted those plans but a novel idea has been put into practice to replicate the distance the teams were due to travel in a walk, run and cycle challenge.

The challenge got underway last week and will see players and staff from our Under-9 to Under-15 age groups aim to cover the mighty 12,345km distance.

Proceeds from the fundraising campaign will go to the Chelsea Foundation to help communities affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 18 destinations in total on the journey, ranging in geography and glamour from Bristol and Edinburgh to Turkey and Tenerife. The latter is the home of forward Pedro, who runs his own tournament on the Canary Island through his foundation.

Our youngsters were involved in the competition there last year and were looking forward to returning before the trip, along with the rest of the academy games programme, was curtailed last month.

Those taking part have until the end of the month to cover the distance by either walking, running or cycling as part of their daily exercise during lockdown. They are currently progressing well, with over 6000km on the clock so far.

The Chelsea Foundation have been working hard to maintain their usual community activities in light of new social-distancing measures, as well as provide support to those affected by the current pandemic.

Recent initiatives include running virtual soccer schools during the upcoming May half-term and, with help from Cesar Azpilicueta, providing education workbooks to schools in support of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Click here to find out more about the Chelsea Foundation’s work.