A couple from Halton are running half a marathon to raise funds for a charity close to their hearts.
Matt Smith and girlfriend, Lizzie Whitehead, will run 13.1 miles at the Harewood House half marathon on February 26 in aid of the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
In 2015, 28-year-old Matt was left in complete shock after his fit and healthy dad Arthur underwent a triple heart bypass surgery aged just 60.
Matt, a business development manager and Lizzie, 23, are now undertaking a challenge each month to fundraise for the BHF.
The half marathon will begin their mission and all money raised will help fund the charity’s life saving research into heart and circulatory disease, which causes more than a quarter (26 per cent) of all deaths in the UK.
They are now calling on others to lace up their trainers and fundraise for the BHF, the biggest funder of heart research in the UK.
Matt said: “If people are reading this and thinking of running or raising money for the British Heart Foundation, now is the time to do it.
“We can’t explain how much of a shock it was to us all when my dad had to undergo a triple heart bypass; it really made us realise it could happen to anyone.”
Lizzie said: “The British Heart Foundation is a fantastic charity which we are keen to support and fundraise for.
“It’ll be tough-going, but we can’t wait to start our year-long challenge!”
Matt and Lizzie will be joined by 2000 runners at this year’s Harewood House half marathon and 10k.
Helen Wright, fundraising event manager for the Harewood House Half Marathon, said: “It is great to see Matt and Lizzie taking it on.
“While deaths from heart and circulatory disease have fallen by more than a half since the BHF began, it is still responsible for close to 18,500 deaths in the North West each year so we urgently need people living in the region to help us put an end to the suffering.
“This year we are excited to introduce a brand new 10k to the Half Marathon event, allowing more fundraisers to take on a challenge. Running off-road can be challenging but the scenic route is all within the beautiful grounds of Harewood House with picturesque views and wildlife all around.” To take part on behalf of BHF call the events team on 0845 130 8663 or visit bhf.org.uk/harewood.