It has been announced that the annual Ilkley Half Marathon will take place virtually this year in aid of helping to fund a revolutionary baby incubator for Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, the first of its kind in Europe.
Organisers Ilkley and District Round Table have confirmed that the event, which has been sponsored by Ilkley-based online training providers High Speed Training, will be free to enter and aims to raise over £25,000 for the charity Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF).
The incubator, which can take images of babies’ hearts, will be the first of its kind outside of the USA and will help save the babies born with congenital heart disease across the country. The state-of-the-art technology will transform the patient experience for families, by enabling clinicians to perform MRI scans on babies with complex heart defects and achieve comprehensive information for quicker, safer and more effective treatment.
MRI scanners currently available within European hospitals are unsuitable for babies without the need for general anaesthetics, which can cause cardiac arrest and put babies’ lives at risk. The technology will also replace CT scans sometimes used instead, that expose babies to radiation and have associated health risks, as well as providing limited information.
Participants in the Ilkley Virtual Half Marathon are encouraged to raise money to fund this life-saving equipment, as well as support vital care and research, by running 13.1 miles, anywhere and anytime, between Sunday 12 July and Wednesday 12 August 2020. Runners can choose to run the distance anywhere in the world – but all are discouraged from running last year’s Ilkley Half Marathon route.
Nick Winterbottom, Chairman of Ilkley Round Table, said, “Last year’s inaugural event was a fantastic community event for Ilkley. We raised over £30,000 for local good causes and received great feedback from runners and spectators alike. It was a massive disappointment to have to postpone the 2020 event, especially with over 2,000 entrants already signed up. We are delighted to support the CHSF baby incubator campaign as well as encouraging good health through the virtual event.”
Dan Jordan, CEO at High Speed Training, said: “With so many events cancelled this year and as a digitally-orientated business, it is our pleasure to sponsor this year’s Ilkley Virtual Half Marathon. It is also a privilege to be able to help fund the children’s incubator for Leeds General Infirmary, a cause that we feel very close to. Even though the race will be different to last year’s event, we hope that the virtual novelty will attract plenty of participants and that our local community gets behind this fantastic cause and raises lots of money.”
Sharon Milner, CEO at Children’s Heart Surgery fund said, “We are delighted to receive such wonderful support towards this life-changing project. Our families will be amazed to hear this fantastic news, it’s such positive news for future generations.”
The fundraising page can be accessed on the Ilkley Half Marathon website: www.ilkleyhalfmarathon.co.uk and further details on how to take part in the event will be posted online.