HEART patients in the Highlands are set to benefit from new equipment after fundraisers stepped up to the challenge of taking part in this year’s Highland Heartbeat challenge.
Around 140 big-hearted adults and juniors battled it out at Saturday’s event supported by the Highland News Group by completing a 12-mile walk or run from Clava, south of Inverness, over Saddle Hill and Pulpit Hill to Moy, followed by a 10-mile return cycle along the old A9.
Although the cash is still being collected, it is hoped up to £20,000 will be raised for Raigmore Hospital’s cardiology department.
One of the organisers, Kenny Riddell, said: “We had around 140 people taking part, including nine juniors aged between 12 and 16.
“We had great weather and everyone seemed to enjoy it. There’s a boggy section for about half a mile which was a bit dryer than usual. Although people mentally prepare themselves for it, it’s always difficult when you’re doing it on the day, but I don’t think it was as bad as previous years.
“There was a great atmosphere at the event.”
The overall winner was Dave Cummins, who completed the course in two hours and 46 seconds. He also won last year’s event.
The first woman over the finishing line was Roma Shepherd, whose time was two hours, 24 minutes and 44 seconds.
Lewis MacFarlane (13) was the fastest junior at three hours and two minutes.
Among the competitors was John Davidson, outdoor sports writer and deputy production editor for the Highland News Group.
Last year, the challenge secured over £16,000 which bought almost 40 heart monitors for surgeries throughout the Highlands. This equipment enables hundreds of patients to be monitored at home, saving long journeys to Raigmore Hospital and consultants’ time.
Discussions are still to take place to finalise what will be purchased with this year’s donations, but Kenny believes more monitors will be among the equipment bought with the cash.
The Heartbeat Challenge is a charity close to the Highland News Group’s own heart as we spearheaded a major campaign to raise over £1 million to build the Highland Heartbeat Centre, which opened at Raigmore Hospital in 2005.