Martin signs up for Chest Heart and Stroke’s Red Dress Run

An Antrim man is answering an appeal from Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke to to actively consider their cardiovascular health and sign up to their annual Red Dress Run.

The event is being supported by Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery.

He said: “I would urge the public to get behind this campaign and support the Chest Heart and Stroke Association. Martin and his family are an inspiration to us all. It is estimated that 17 people suffer a heart attack each day in Northern Ireland and approx. 225,000 are living with a heart disease. Making small changes in our lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart diseases such as keeping active, a healthy diet and reducing our stress levels. So this is our chance to ‘Step up to the mark’ and make those changes today”.

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Martin, 66 from Antrim, is already well aware of the risk factors surrounding heart disease and is determined to keep active to protect his heart, he said: “I am aware that I am a high-risk category with my age and physical condition. I’m in a risk category for heart problems, so I really have to do a bit more to try and keep healthier.”

Martin and his wife

The run, supported by MACE, will take place on Sunday, February 21, at 11am as a virtual event.

Not much of a runner, Martin will complete the 5km on the day, but he’ll be doing it his way. He has decided to either cycle or, perhaps even row!, the distance while raising much needed funds for the charity.

“I have an ankle injury but I’m trying to get healthier and do a bit more cycling. I wouldn’t run so much. My wife and I are into rowing a bit as well. We normally row in a quad but, now with lockdown, that’s obviously not possible so we just bought a double so that the two of us can row. It’s coming from England and I hope it will be here in time so that’s there’s another option to be active on the day! If the boat arrives in time, it would be a bit of a novelty to row it rather than run it.”

Three generations of Martin’s family are signed up for the Red Dress Run and will take part together on the day – albeit in different locations and doing different activities

Martin said: “Myself and my wife and my grandson, he’s nine, we’re all signed up. I’m not sure whether he’ll be ‘running’ with us or with Jenny – my daughter – but he’ll be doing it on the day as well.”

“I am not remotely a keep-fit fanatic or anything, but I am very supportive of Chest Heart and Stroke and I’m aware of the work that they’ve done over the years. I think it’s a very worthy cause to support.”

If you’ve been inspired by Martin’s story, then step out of your comfort zone and step up to the challenge! Whether you are running to keep fit or in memory of a loved one, sign yourself, friends, and family up to the Virtual Red Dress Run on Sunday, February 21, at 11am.

If you can’t take part on the date, you can run or walk your way, any day throughout February. Sign up at www.nichs.org.uk/reddressrun