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Epic return to Welsh capital for Cardiff Half Marathon

Kidd brothers Sam, Ben, Tomos and Joseph approaching the finish line

A month on from the return of the Cardiff Half Marathon to the capital, BHF Cymru is calling on runners and walkers from across Wales and beyond to pull on their trainers and sign up for the Wizz Air Cardiff Half on October 2nd.

As this Autumn’s event coincides with the TCS London Marathon 2022, whose official partner is BHF, there’s an opportunity for anyone who doesn’t have a place in London – or doesn’t fancy taking on a full Marathon – to dip their toe in a challenge that will make a real difference, funding life saving heart research.

Mother’s Day, March 27th, saw a triumphant return of the iconic event for thousands of runners and their supporters following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. There were emotional scenes as 426 runners and their support squads descended on the Welsh capital for the first half marathon in the city since before the pandemic, raising £68,000 to support the British Heart Foundation’s efforts to deliver the research which could save lives and discover treatments for people affected by heart conditions.

The BHF Cymru team were proud to welcome new friends and familiar faces to the Festival Village where they shared their stories about why they were taking part in the race in support of the BHF.

Brothers Sam, Ben, Tomos and Joseph Kidd who grew up in Swansea ran in memory of their father, Professor Robert Kidd, who passed away due to a heart condition in 1996.

The family have raised over £1,800 to fund BHF research with their run, and Sam Kidd says: “It was such a special thing to do with my brothers in memory of our dad. Everyone from BHF was lovely and it was great to have that support there.

Sam adds, “We try to get together as often as we can and given our family medical history our heart health often comes up. We all regularly get health checks. We keep a close eye on our cholesterol and blood pressure as well as trying our best to be active and eat healthily. We’re really happy to have raised a bit of money to support BHF and the great work they do.”

Derek Williams took part in his first ever charity run for BHF

9-year-old Ollie Banks took part in the Cardiff Junior Half 2022 the day before the full half. He ran a mile, securing a personal best of 7 minutes and 21 seconds and raising £900 for the British Heart Foundation. Ollie has a condition called Ebstein’s Anomaly. He says, “My heart has a ‘glitch’ that is changing as I grow, and it means that I will need an operation to fix it. I run to keep my heart healthy and happy.  I want to help all the heart doctors learn new ways to fix broken hearts and be the best that they can be in helping children like me.”

Ollie was cheered on by his big brother Jack and proud parents Kirsty and Steve.

Ebstein’s Anomaly is a condition where the valve which directs blood through the right side of the heart doesn’t work properly. Over time, the heart works harder to compensate for this dysfunction, which can lead to enlargement of the heart muscle and heart failure.

Big brother Jack with Ollie Banks

The BHF Cymru team was supported by volunteer Calum Matheson. Calum says:

“After volunteering in my local BHF shop, I wanted to see what more I could do to help out. Fitness and health are a passion of mine, so helping out at the Cardiff Half Marathon was a no-brainer. I had a lot of fun at the event, the staff were very welcoming, and I thoroughly enjoyed cheering on those who crossed the finish line. Making all of us very proud, raising money to discover the treatments and cures of the future.”

BHF Area Fundraising Manager for Wales & Northern Ireland Nikki James says, “Calum embodied the spirit of our BHF Volunteers, he really got stuck in and was a fantastic help welcoming our wonderful runners and their friends and families. The BHF Cymru team is already gearing up for the next Cardiff Half in October and we’d love to see more volunteers in the capital so our awesome fundraisers can hear the Welsh dragon roar in the capital!”

Volunteer Calum Matheson with Area Fundraising Manager Nikki James

She adds: “For more than 60 years the public’s generosity has funded BHF research that has turned ideas that once seemed like ‘science fiction’ into treatments that save lives every day. But millions of people are still waiting for the next breakthrough.

“Today in Wales around 340,000 people are living with the daily burden of heart and circulatory diseases and dozens of families will lose loved ones to devastating heart diseases. We urgently need the public’s support to keep our life saving research going, and to discover the treatments of the future. It is only with donations from the public that the BHF can keep its lifesaving research going, helping us turn science fiction into reality.”