Running Couple Take On A Year Of Events For Charity

Great Comeback 3

The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run takes place on Sunday, May 28, with a choice of two distances – 10k and a half marathon. For further information, visit http://greatrun.org/Manchester

A COUPLE plan to raise thousands of pounds for charity by teaming up to take part in running events across 2017.

Lizzie Whitehead and partner Matt Smith have signed up for 14 events across the year, which will culminate in a charity ball at the end of November, with the couple aiming to raise £2,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

They were inspired to set the marathon challenge after Matt’s father underwent heart surgery last year.

With two of the events already under their belts, the pair are looking forward to taking on the series of runs which includes the all-new Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run half marathon on Sunday, May 28, the Simplyhealth Great North 10K on Sunday, July 9, and the Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday, September 10.

Lizzie said: “I don't really know what I've got myself in for but we're looking forward to pushing ourselves and raising lots of money.

“We thought about doing something like this for a while. We have always done things for charity, then Matt’s dad needed a triple heart bypass, which came as a massive shock to us – we decided to do something for the British Heart Foundation after that.

“We’ve set a target of £2,000 but we hope to exceed that as we’re already on £550.

“We’re two events in and we’re still enjoying it.”

Running brought Lizzie, 23, and Matt, 28, together, with the duo set up by mutual friends who were keen to find a new running partner for Lizzie.

Lizzie explained: “They were being daft but it seemed to work!

“Fitness has always been part of our relationship and three and a half years later we still motivate each other to do our best.

“It makes us feel more comfortable together too because we pretty much went straight in to seeing each other as sweaty messes.”

With Lizzie a student at Manchester University and Matt living in Kendal, she trains alone during the week but spends her weekends running with Matt – which gives them some quality time together while getting fitter.

Lizzie said: “We have always ran together. It pushes us to go further and faster.

“It’s also about spending time together. We could just spend our time watching television but you’re not actually doing anything worthwhile – this is quality time.

“It’s nice to run as a couple. He’s faster than me and there are times I’m sure he’d rather be running ahead but he always sticks with me, and as a result I’ve ran faster – even beating my best half marathon time.

“It’s great to have something to look forward to. We have got things mapped out for the year. It pushes us to train for it and to stick at it. It will be nice to have completed it when it is all over.”

The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run takes place on Sunday, May 28, with a choice of two distances – 10k and a half marathon. For further information, visit http://greatrun.org/Manchester

To donate to Lizzie and Matt’s campaign, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fundraisingforhearts

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