A heartfelt ride
HEART specialist Tim Sutton is getting ready to practise what he preaches.
On February 3, the Mt Eden resident and his son Ben will ride 140km from Matakohe, north of Wellsford, to Auckland in the New Zealand Heart Foundation’s Great Ride For Heart 2010.
The following day Tim will go it alone on the 160km ride from Auckland to Matamata.
The pair are two of 67 cyclists taking part in the ride, with 24 riders traversing the entire length of the country.
“I spend a lot of time at work telling people how much they should exercise, but I’m spending time sitting in a chair,” he says.
“Hopefully we can show everyone exercise can be fun.”
Along with raising funds for the foundation, Tim says it’s important to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention.
“Heart disease is the big- gest killer of people in New Zealand over 40.
“But you’re not just talking about heart attacks. People have problems with the likes of heart valves as well.”
As part of his training regime, the 41-year-old often cycles 16km to work at Middlemore Hospital.
“I started doing it about a year ago as I was getting older and rounder.
“Initially I thought cycling to work was a long way, but I’ve got to go 10 times as far on the ride for heart.”
He admits there’s some nerves about cycling 300km in just two days.
“It’s the second day that’s got me really thinking.”
But he’s confident cycling 40 to 50km once or twice a week should be enough training to make sure they get to the end.
Once Ben found out his dad was getting involved, he says it wasn’t a difficult decision to join in.
“Heart disease is a big killer in New Zealand and it’s been in my family for a few generations.
“I can help prevent pain and suffering and it’s also a great way to get fit.”
Ben, 16, hopes to raise $2000, while Tim’s goal is $10,000.
“I’ve been delivering pamphlets around the neighbourhood and have asked friends to help,” the Auckland Grammar student says.
Heart Foundation medical director Norman Sharpe says the goal is to raise $1 million from the Great Heart Ride.
It is part of a bigger plan to gather $5m to fund a research chair in heart disease prevention at Auckland University.
“The riders are all supporting themselves and paying their own way, as well as fundraising. It’s a big group effort.”
In a generous show of support, the Douglas Charitable Trust is matching dollar for dollar all the cash raised by the riders, up to $500,000.
To sponsor Tim or Ben visit www.heartracer.org. nz.
Riding high: Heart specialist Dr Tim Sutton, right, and son Ben are in training for February’s Great Heart Ride for the New Zealand Heart Foundation.