Nearly 800 runners are expected to take to the start line in Newcastle this Sunday for the inaugural CHUF Heart and Sole Run.
Organised by the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) to raise much-needed funds for the unit at the Freeman Hospital, the day at Paddy Freeman Fields in Heaton is expected to raise thousands of pounds for the charity.
As well as three run distances on the day, there is a range of family-friendly attractions, stalls, food stands, live entertainment and special guests.
Gates open from 9am with activities and performances taking place throughout the day until 4pm.
“We’re overwhelmed with the response,” said organiser and CHUF trustee, Ivan Hollingsworth.
“We only launched details of the run nine weeks ago and the tide of support has left us truly humbled. Now its all eyes on the weather in the hope we have a cracking day and people come out in their numbers to support their friends and family who’ll take on the 1.5km, 5km and 10km courses.
“We think it’s the perfect way to spend Father’s Day together as a family.”
CHUF has confirmed there will be the chance for people to run without having pre-registered, but they will need to arrive early to register on the day.
The first run of the day, the 1.5km junior run, is due to start at 10.45am and will see more than 200 young children set off on a course around Paddy Freeman Fields, opposite the Freeman Hospital.
The 5km and 10km courses will both start and finish at Paddy Freeman Fields, and take a picturesque route through Jesmond Dene.
There will be no fewer than three London Olympians also attending on the day.
Wallsend’s 1500m Olympic semi-finalist, Ross Murray will be joined by GB volleyball Olympians Peter Bakare and Nathan French.
Ivan, who’s own son Sebastian had life saving heart surgery at birth at the Freeman Hospital, added: “We’re thrilled to have the guys with us on Sunday and to be supporting CHUF.
“Their attendance all helps to make this a really special day out.”
All money raised from the CHUF Heart and Sole Run will go directly to helping the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital.
The Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital is one of only two centres in the UK offering paediatric heart transplant and bridge to transplant, with transplant numbers increasing to the point where the unit now provides almost half of the UK’s paediatric transplants.
CHUF has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help with the provision of a range of essential new equipment, care facilities and psychological care. It has funded the unit’s new playroom and the new Home from Home, which allows families of patients a comfortable place to stay while their children are being cared for by the Unit’s experts.