Ballymoney Family Taking On The 5k Subway Challenge

The Grace family

A BALLYMONEY family, inspired by the history of heart disease in their relatives, are taking part in the Subway Helping Hearts Family 5K.

The run is set to take place in Belfast on August 9 and will raise money and awareness for Heart Research UK.

Grace Smith, a 32 year old web designer, has been running the 5K since 2012 alongside her brother Mark, 34.

She explained: “People tend to raise money for other health related charities but coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the UK and has affected everyone in our family numerous times.

“We wanted to help raise money for Heart Research UK to help fund research into treatments and cures of heart disease – and enjoy a great day as well!”

Sadly, Grace and Mark’s dad, Dave, died age 57 in Royal Victoria Hospital just 17 days after suffering a sudden heart attack.

Their mum Joan suffered from rheumatic fever when she was 18, which caused damage to her heart valves, and their Grandma Jean suffered an aortic aneurysm, forcing her to undergo major heart surgery.

Other family members have suffered fatal heart attacks and undergone heart bypass surgery, while one family member suffers from an enlarged heart amongst other complications.

Despite their struggle, Grace and Mark’s experience with heart disease has motivated them to take care of their hearts through a healthy lifestyle, helping them prevent any future heart problems.

While running in the 5K helps them take care of their hearts, it also helps them raise money and awareness for their beloved charity.

This year Grace and Mark will be joined by mum Joan and nephew Bailey as the four of them tackle the 5K run and an exciting new twist – a salad-inspired inflatable obstacle course called ‘field of fresh’ for the final 500m.

Having funded six of the first eight successful UK heart transplants, Heart Research UK has been helping hearts by funding ground-breaking medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. Since the charity was formed in 1967 it has funded over £21m on research projects in hospitals and universities across the UK.

Children under 12 run for free and it’s only £6.99 per person for adults. Every participant will receive a free t-shirt, goody bag and Subway lunch.

Children under 12 go FREE and it’s then just £6.99 per person for the rest of the family when they register online. Go to for race information and to register.

About the Author

Jessikah Hope Stenson
A young, enthusiastic writer who appreciates a good scone.