The West

HBF runners wear hearts on sleeves
Dress-up day: Runners in the HBF Run for A Reason yesterday. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

A record number of West Australians wore their heart on their sleeves yesterday when they hit the city streets and raised more than $1.3 million for charity during the annual HBF Run for a Reason event.

After the downpour on Saturday, yesterday's weather was kind to nearly 30,000 participants in the 4km and 12km courses, with the heavens opening up only after the last people crossed the finish line at Gloucester Park.

Brandon Hargreaves, 21, was the first male to finish the 12km run in 36min 10sec and the first female was again Linda Spencer, who was thrilled that her time of 40.46 was an improvement on last year.

Marc See managed to hold on to his 4km run male winner title with 11.22, while Bri Ilarda clocked 13.26 as the first female across the line.

Ms Spencer, 32, has been competing in races every weekend for the past three weeks as part of her training and returned from an event in Britain on Tuesday.

ALL THE RUNNERS, ALL THE TIMES IN TODAY'S WEST AUSTRALIAN

I love the West tattoo: HBF fun runners start in the city. Picture Dione Davidson/The West Australian
Despite her jet lag, she was determined to do well in the Perth event after taking out top spot for the females last year.

"I was aiming to win," she said. "It's such a well-run event and it's all for a good cause, so I love to inspire others to find a reason to run."

Mel Koch, 31, was the highest individual fundraiser, collecting more than $30,000 for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

She has taken part in every one of the five HBF Run for a Reason events but said this year was a more emotional experience after losing her 27-year-old sister Sophie at Easter to Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Yesterday marked one year exactly that stomach cancer took 48-year-old Carole Johnson away from her family.

In recognition of Ms Johnson's fight, her daughters Jeri, 12, Bree, 15, and 18-year-old Tori plus family and friends took part as Team Carole, raising money to fight cancer.

Dajana Tesevic said her reason for running was to celebrate the gift of life she had been given by an organ donor.

HBF fun runners start in the city. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Yesterday was the first anniversary of a liver transplant that has given a new lease of life to the 24-year-old. "It was surreal being part of this event because this time last year I was undergoing surgery after being so sick that I didn't think I was going to make it," she said.

Ms Tesevic took part in the event with the Donor Mate team of 107 people, whose aim was to raise awareness about the life-saving importance of organ donation.

John Worsfold in the HBF Run for a Reason. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Tears were shed as many participants crossed the finish line and remembered their reason for running. For some, such as Ms Tesevic, it was to recognise that they had beaten an illness; for others, it was in memory of loved ones who had lost their battles. And then there were others who took part for fun, such as nonagenarian Peter St John Kennedy, the oldest participant.

The 94-year-old, who ran the 4km course with daughter Louise and grandson Harrison, said he was passionate about keeping fit and running and joked that he intended to win the 100m sprint for his 100th birthday.

More than 500 volunteers helped ensure that this year's run was a success.

HBF managing director Rob Bransby was full of praise for the event that kicked off in 2010 in an attempt to improve the health of West Australians and he is sure the event will continue to grow. "One of the things that makes this event so special is that everyone has their own reason for taking part," he said.

Paramedics provided some runners with medical assistance for exhaustion and minor injuries. A St John Ambulance spokesman said seven people were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Colourful competitors ran for a reason. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian
The West Australian

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