Event aims for healthy hearts

Published 9:53 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An American Heart Association event in Suffolk on Saturday will give citizens an opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause while learning about exercise and nutrition.

HeartChase, which Ryan Holloway, the association’s director of development, described as a cross between television programs “The Amazing Race” and “Minute to Win It,” aims to reach Tidewater residents living too far away for the Heart Walk at Virginia Beach.

The American Heart Association has done a great job reaching Hampton Roads communities in the past 10-plus years with the Heart Walk, Holloway said.

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“But that event just isn’t reaching outlying communities in Hampton Roads, like Suffolk and Smithfield and all Western Tidewater,” he said. “HeartChase is the way the American Heart Association can connect with some of those smaller communities.”

HeartChase participants will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, 150 Burnett’s Way.

They will then launch into a fun-filled day of challenging activities, using a cellphone app to navigate their way to various “checkpoints” within walking distance.

“At each checkpoint, there will be some sort of crazy game that they have to accomplish,” Holloway said.

“When a team accomplishes a challenge, they will get points for it. Those teams will race to the different checkpoints, get the points, and then all come back to game central.”

The challenge is to visit all 10 checkpoints in an hour and a half, he said.

“It’s a fun, interesting, heart-healthy initiative … (that) helps the citizens of Suffolk connect with our mission.”

Chet Hart, chair of the event in Suffolk, stated in a news release: “HeartChase is a way to promote overall heart health in the community by hosting a fun, family-friendly, competitive athletic event and at the same time raising funds and awareness about the cardiovascular diseases and stroke right here in Suffolk.”

Community members can get involved by helping stage the event, participating in the race or contributing to the association.

HeartChase Suffolk aims to raise $20,000 for the association, and $12,901 had been raised by Tuesday afternoon, according to www.heartchasesuffolk.org.

Visit the website for more information.