THE British Heart Foundation (BHF) has been chosen as the official charity partner for the AJ Bell Great Run Series, which raises millions of pounds for charity every year and includes the largest half marathon in the world – the AJ Bell Great North Run.
The partnership will run for two years, and in the first year alone the BHF aims to raise at least £1.5m to be invested in improving the heart health of the nation.
Around 7.6 million people live with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK – conditions that are likely to affect more than half of us during our lifetimes. Every three minutes in this country someone dies from a heart or circulatory disease, every five minutes someone is admitted to hospital due to a stroke, and every day 13 babies are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.
The BHF, working with AJ Bell and the Great Run Series, is committed to using the partnership to address these shocking figures. The charity hopes it will inspire thousands of people to take on challenges to improve their heart health while raising vital funds for lifesaving research and health initiatives directed at the communities where they’re needed most.
The Great Run Company motivates more than 250,000 people to take part in major events in the UK every year. As well as the Great North Run, the AJ Bell Great Run Series portfolio includes five other events across the country – from the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow to the Great South Run in Portsmouth.
Investment platform AJ Bell were announced as Title Partner for the series in January this year, as part of a five-year partnership.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“The BHF has been spearheading the fight against heart and circulatory diseases for more than six decades and our success means that where once seven in 10 people died from a heart attack, now seven in 10 survive.
“But the fight isn’t over and right across the country families are losing loved ones to a devastating condition such as a heart attack or stroke every day. This is why I am delighted that the BHF has been chosen for this exciting partnership – collaborations like this are simply indispensable to our mission to save and improve more lives.
“Together we will help keep hearts beating across the whole of the country.”
Charlie Musson, Acting Managing Director at AJ Bell said:
“The British Heart Foundation is a lifesaving charity that is helping the world beat cardiovascular disease. Exercise and healthy living can be one of the most effective preventative measures for heart and circulatory diseases and so we are proud to be partnering with them as the official charity partner for the AJ Bell Great Run series.
“Thousands of participants already run in aid of the BHF and we can’t wait to see this fundraising expand further in order to fund the brilliant initiatives that help prevent and cure heart disease.”
BHF supporter and fundraiser Robyn Cairney competed in the AJ Bell Great North Run in September, just one year after having open heart surgery.
Robyn, 32, was born with a congenital heart defect which was discovered when she was 18 and led to her having two major operations to replace her aortic valve.
She carried on leading her life as normal until June 2021, when she collapsed at home.
It was only thanks to the quick actions of her partner Simon that Robyn survived after he jumped in to perform CPR. She was taken to hospital and on 8 June 2022 had another gruelling 10 hours of open-heart surgery.
Incredibly, a year after this operation Robyn was ready to take on the iconic half marathon and completed it in an amazing two hours 34 minutes.
“I’m so proud of that achievement – I finished the race and felt elated. I also felt good about myself physically and proud of my body for accomplishing what it did.
“Every penny raised for the BHF goes towards lifesaving research and vital awareness raising so I would urge as many people as possible to get involved, take on one of the Great Run challenges, and help people like me live the best lives we can.”
For more information or to sign up for an event for the British Heart Foundation visit: www.bhf.org.uk/events.