For more information about the Simplyhealth Great North Run, visit our website: greatrun.org/great-north-run 

A couple from Kendal are fundraising for the British Heart Foundation by running the Simplyhealth Great North Run. 

Matt Smith, 28, and Lizzie Whitehead, 23, entered the half marathon to raise money to fight heart disease and promote the benefits a healthy lifestyle can have on our hearts. 

They were motivated to start fundraising by Matt’s father when he experienced problems with his heart. 

Matt said: “Last year, my dad fell suddenly ill when he out walking with my mum. 

“Upon examination, we found out he needed an urgent Triple Heart Bypass. 

“He was a very fit, healthy man, and never had any warning signs leading up to the incident, which made it even more shocking when it happened. 

“Thankfully, with the likes of the research and development from the British Heart Foundation, my dad has been given a second chance and will be cheering us on in all our races this year.

“Some people aren’t as lucky as we were, and the more I looked into heart disease, the more aware I became of all the lives that have been saved thanks to the British Heart Foundation.”

As a result, Matt and Lizzie have taken on a series of challenges in 2017 to fundraise for the charity, including the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run, cycling to Paris and a Total Warrior event.

On Sunday 10 September, they will be joining thousands of runners at the Simplyhealth Great North Run.

The weekend also includes the Junior and Mini Great North Run, the Great North 5k and the Great North CityGames on the Saturday.


The couple also hope to raise awareness for the importance of fitness to maintain a healthy heart. 

Matt said: “I have always been active through sports, and Lizzie teaches dance. 

“However, when this campaign started, we really wanted to promoted a healthy lifestyle. 

“Lizzie uses her social media to share food facts and recipes to inspire people to make small changes in that aspect of their life.

“We also post updates on our challenges to show people how great it is to get out there and see what your body can do, no matter how big or small the obstacle is. 

“We want others to see how amazing running makes us feel.”

The online response to Matt and Lizzie’s posts has been encouraging and have kept them motivated to complete their challenges. 

Matt said: “Since starting our year-long challenge, it’s been great to see the huge amount of people take on events to raise money for charities, and start posting more of their weekly running sessions.”

Both runners are looking forward to adding the Simplyhealth Great North Run to their list of accomplishments.

Matt said: “It will be a huge personal challenge for us. 

“Completing a half marathon is in itself a great achievement, but when we have all the support behind us, we just want to make everyone proud.”

He added: “Some of the challenges so far have been fun, some have been incredibly difficult, but all of them have been worth it in the name of charity.”

Support Matt and Lizzie’s fundraising for British Heart Foundation here.

For more information about the Simplyhealth Great North Run, visit our website: greatrun.org/great-north-run