Help fight heart disease with fun family day out

JPNS-13-02-12-121 SOUTH DOWNS WALK 2011 REP: SF''Walkers taking part in last year's South Down's Walk at Queen Elizabeth Country Park
JPNS-13-02-12-121 SOUTH DOWNS WALK 2011 REP: SF''Walkers taking part in last year's South Down's Walk at Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Yachts taking part in last years Clipper Round the World Race			             	  Picture: onEdition

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With three challenges to choose from and scenic countryside to enjoy, a charity trek will give fundraisers a chance to stretch their legs.

The South Downs Way Challenge raises money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and is for runners and walkers.

Starting and finishing at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, off the A3 near Petersfield, there are three different routes to choose from.

The eight-and-a-half mile route will give families with children a challenging but manageable day out.

Or you can try something a bit harder with the 15 mile route, which includes more demanding and undulating terrain.

And for those who really want to push themselves, there is a 20 mile route – perfect for hardcore runners or those looking for a tough walk.

All routes take walkers and runners in a loop along the Staunton Way through picturesque woodland and stunning scenery.

This will be the BHF’s fourth South Downs Way Challenge and the action will start from 6.30am on Saturday February 25.

‘You can walk these routes any time you like but the special thing about this event is that everyone is there for the same purpose,’ explains BHF events organiser Tacye Blest.

‘There’s a buzz, it’s a great feelgood factor.’

Walkers and runners are asked to raise sponsorship and the money goes to help the charity in its ongoing fight against heart disease.

Everyone taking part will be given a map and beanie hat. They’ll also get free parking at the country park and money off a hot drink from the cafe once they’ve finished.

Volunteers from Hampshire Search and Rescue will help man the checkpoints where bottles of water will be handed out.

‘It’s a really nice route and a loop so you finish where you start which is great for families,’ says Tacye.

‘People can bring their dogs and it’s a great way to get out, have some fun and challenge themselves.’

She adds: ‘It’s not a race, it’s a challenge and about taking part.

‘For some people 8.5 miles will be a challenge if they’ve not walked that far before but that’s a do-able distance for children.

‘It’s a family day out and about getting some exercise, keeping fit and having fun, with lots of people raising money to help save lives together.’

Those taking part need to wear sensible footwear and warm clothes. They’re also advised to take a packed lunch and drinks, although there are two pubs along the route.

An entry fee is charged to cover the running costs with all the sponsorship money going to help save lives.

You can turn up and register on the day but if you sign up to take part in advance you’ll get a discount on your entry fee.

Entry costs from between £6 for children taking part in the shortest route, up to £30 for adults who register to take part in the 20 mile event on the day.

To register, log on to bhf.org.uk/sdwchallenge or call 0808 100 2109.