WINNERS: Annabel Stewart and Miranda Brain with their winners medals, after completing a 22km half-marathon on Sunday to raise money for Heart Kids.
WINNERS: Annabel Stewart and Miranda Brain with their winners medals, after completing a 22km half-marathon on Sunday to raise money for Heart Kids.

Heartfelt run raises money for our kids

TWO Whitsunday runners achieved a very personal goal when they completed a 22km half-marathon on Sunday to raise money for Heart Kids.

A year ago on October 13, Annabel Stewart was told to say goodbye to her (then) 19-month-old daughter Sasha, who went into cardiac arrest in Brisbane's Mater Hospital. Sasha had been rushed to the hospital on the previous day with a congenital heart problem that had doctors baffled.

At the eleventh hour it was discovered that she had a heart condition that is so rare only 200 cases have ever been reported worldwide.

Having diagnosed the problem, doctors performed open heart surgery and were able to save Sasha's life.

Annabel and her husband Matthew Stewart said they would not have got through this time without help from the organisation Heart Kids.

"They gave us essential support and practical advice. They'd do things like feed Matt and I when we were in such a state we didn't even know our own names," Mrs Stewart said.

Mrs Stewart, who is a member of the Whitsunday Running Club, was already planning to run a half-marathon, but decided to turn the challenge to Heart Kids' advantage, by way of saying "thanks". She joined forces with fellow runner Miranda Brain and when the pair could not find a suitable event at this time of year they decided to make their own, pacing out a course around Cannonvale and Airlie Beach.

A 14-week training program was undertaken with the help of Whitsunday Running Club member and coach Trevor Vardy. In company with other Whitsunday runners, the two ladies set off from Cannonvale beach at 4.30am on Sunday and returned victorious at 6.55am after completing 22km at an average pace of six-and-a-half minutes per km. They were joined at the finish by friends and family including Sasha, whose presence made the achievement truly special.

From an initial target of $700, the runners have managed to raise more than $3500 and donations are still coming in. To make a donation visit www.everydayhero.com.au/mirandannabel.


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