Wanaka’s Mother’s Day Fun Run begins today at 9am at Eely Point Reserve on Lakeside Rd, and families are encouraged to take part.
Former Olympian Nicky Samuels would be joining the run because it was an issue ‘‘close to my heart’’.
The Wanaka athlete competed in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics, but health concerns meant she had to make some changes.
She was not sure if it was from ‘‘too much racing’’ or something else, but she developed ‘‘a couple of heart problems’’.
One was a right ventricular outflow tract tachycardia, ‘‘which means your heart-rate goes too high’’.
This caused ‘‘fluttering’’ and the heart was not able to pump correctly, she said.
‘‘Your heart is racing rather than doing what it is meant to be doing.’’
The second heart issue was left bundle branch block, ‘‘which does the opposite’’ where the heart-rate could be ‘‘only 80 when you need it to be 180’’.
The conditions were not lifethreatening, but they, along with having her two children resulted in her stepping down from competing.
With a 5-week-old daughter, Mrs Samuels would probably be walking the event this year, and she encouraged whole families to take part ‘‘not just women’’.
Using ‘‘exercises as medicine’’ was a great way to help having a healthy heart, she said.
‘‘Less stress’’ and having some exercises during the day were great ways to prevent problems later on.
‘‘And hopefully that helps keep the doctor away’’.
The 5km event was a national initiative run by Jennian Homes, which supported the Heart Foundation’s ‘‘Heart Foundation for Women’’ campaign.
To give visit donate.heartfoundation.org.nz