Lytham man to take on gruelling South Lake fells run in memory of his father

An inspiring man from Lytham is taking on a gruelling 61km run across the South Lake fells in memory of his father.

Liam Hill, 29, is taking on the challenge – the equivalent of 37 miles – to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF). He was motivated to take on the epic run after his father Glyn died of a heart attack in November 2019 at the age of 61.

Liam Hill said: “It was 1 o’clock in the morning when I got the phone call. It was from one of my parents’ friends. You know it’s not good news when someone calls you at that time.

“They told me my dad had suffered a heart attack and was on his way to hospital. It was such a shock. My world just fell apart. He’d texted me earlier that evening to say he’d won his squash match.

“The next week was like an out of body experience. My dad was on life support, so every day I’d go to the hospital with my mum to sit by his bed and find out the latest news.

“Unfortunately, the news became more and more bleak. His heart had stopped for too long and there was irreparable damage to the brain. There wasn’t anything more that could be done for him and he died at the end of that week.

“It was devastating and hard to comprehend what had happened because he was such a fit guy.”

Liam estimates that it will take him around 10-12 hours to complete the route and distance which both hold a special significance.

Liam Hill said: “I knew straight away that I wanted to take on a physical challenge, whether it was running, cycling or an iron man. I’m a very active person and I play a lot of sport. It’s my way of destressing.

“A few weeks after my father died it was Christmas. I was given a present that my dad had bought for me before he passed. It was a book about trail running, with lots of different routes around the UK.

“It had a really powerful effect on me. I’m not someone who believes in fate, but after receiving that gift I thought I have to do a trail run for my dad. In the book there were routes in the South Lake District, near our home. By combining a handful of them together I came up with a route that was 61km long to mark the fact that my dad passed away when he was 61.

Liam has been training for over the 6 months and will take on the run on 22 August. He will be accompanied six friends who will all be trying to complete the run as well.

Liam Hill said: “I’ve run a few half-marathons, but this is the first time I’ve dedicated myself to running such a long distance. One of my friends is a strength and conditioning coach and he’s given me a training plan to get myself ready.

“I’m really humbled that so many of my friends have decided to take this challenge on with me. They all knew my dad and were friends with him, and I’m incredibly grateful that they want to take part and support me.”

Liam, who works for the sports company Nike, is aiming to raise £10,000 for the BHF and already more than halfway towards his target having raised £8,800.

Liam Hill said: “I just want to honour my dad and his memory. Losing him was such a shock. If I can make even a small contribution towards stopping another family experiencing that devastation, I will have made a positive impact.”

The BHF funds life-saving research into all heart and circulatory diseases, including heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and their risk factors, including high blood pressure and diabetes. However, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity’s research investment could halve this year.

Emma Dickinson, fundraising manager for the BHF, said: “Liam and his friends really are the very best. They have raised an incredible amount of money and I would like to thank them and everyone who has made a donation in support of their gruelling challenge.

“Our life-saving research is fuelled by the generous donations of the public, but the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that our investment in new research could fall by £50 million this year.

“That’s why we need the support of the public to back the BHF now, more than ever.”

Heart and circulatory diseases cause nearly 170,000 deaths in the UK each year – an average of one death every three minutes. There are around 7.4 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK. The BHF is the largest independent funder of research in the UK. Since the BHF was established the annual number of deaths from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK has fallen by around a half.

People can support Liam’s fundraising by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising/Glyns-Hills61