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Olympians across the country are putting their hands up, and running shoes on, in support of a nationwide Mother’s Day fun run/walk aiming to help spread the important message of women’s heart health.

Less than two weeks remain before this year’s Jennian Homes Mother’s Day Fun Run/Walk which sees thousands of runners, joggers and walkers participating across 23 locations nationwide on Mother’s Day (May 14).

Now in its sixth year, the New Zealand-wide event is part of an initiative run by Jennian Homes to support the Heart Foundation’s ‘Heart Foundation for Women’ campaign, which aims to improve the heart health of New Zealand women.

More than 5000 participants are already registered for the Mother’s Day event, including the athletic drawcard of 42 Olympians who have signed on alongside the event’s three Olympic ambassadors, New Zealand Rio 2016 Team members – Kayla Whitelock, Nikki Hamblin and Natalie Rooney.

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The Olympians, past and present, will be active across the country at all 23 respective locations helping coordinate warm ups, while some will also take part in the 5km course.

Athletes include; 2016 silver medal sailing pair Alex Maloney and Molly Meech taking part in Paihia, double medal winning rower Rebecca Scown in Hamilton, rugby 7s silver medallist Ruby Tui in Tauranga, rowing silver medallist Genevieve Behrent in Whitianga, 2008 bronze medal winning rower Nathan Twaddle in Whakatane, three-time Winter Olympian Andrew Nicholson, and 2012 bronze medal rower Peter Taylor in Wellington.

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The attendance of all the Olympians is thanks to Jennian Homes, who partnered with the New Zealand Olympic Committee ahead of last year’s games in Rio de Janiero to help Kiwi athletes achieve their goals on the world stage.

Jennian Homes chief executive Aidan Jury says having such a prodigious stable of Olympians on board speaks volumes not only of the growing popularity New Zealand-wide event, but also the importance of ensuring the women we love are with us for many years to come.

“Having Olympians at all 23 locations across the country is a fantastic achievement. I have no doubt participating alongside these athletes will help encourage all mothers and families to make a great start to their Mother’s Day.

“It is at a time like Mother’s Day that we are reminded of just how important families are. We are all mindful of the toll that results from heart health issues and Jennian is proud to champion the need for better heart health awareness in Kiwi women.”

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Like all participants, the Olympians will be decked out in a specialty shirt designed by iconic Kiwi artist Dick Frizzell.

Mr Jury says 2016 was the annual fun run/walk’s largest to date, with more than 7000 mums, daughters or sisters participating, but he expects this year’s event to eclipse that.

“Walking or running just 5 kms through some of New Zealand’s most scenic areas will get your day started in a great fun way with family, and you’ll be doing your bit to help save lives and keep more families together.”

Heart disease is the number-one cause of death for women in New Zealand, claiming the lives of more than 50 women each week.

As a proud supporter, Jennian Homes is committed to working with the Heart Foundation to reduce this alarming statistic, and will be giving $20,000 to the charity to support women’s heart health as a result of the Mother’s Day events.

Participants who enter this year’s event will also go in the draw to win part of a $25,000 prize pool.

For a full list of locations and to register for the 5km event go to http://www.jennianmothersday.com/

Natalie Rooney Kayla Whitelock Nikki Hamblin Rebecca Scown Genevieve Behrent Nathan Twaddle Peter Taylor Ruby Tui James Coughlan James Lassche Molly Meech Samantha Charlton Lorne DePape Karen Hanlen Ruby Tew Nicky Samuels Alana Barber Sheree Horvath Sophie MacKenzie Sarah Gregorius Michael Brake Julia Edward Meikayla Moore Tracey Lambrechs Aaron Orangi Melissa Ingram Andrea Kilday Sally Rutherford Matthew Randall Sophie Cocks Robbie Johnston Liv Podmore Piet Bulling Emily Naylor Anita McLaren Kayla Pratt Jade Uru Dylan Schmidt Emma Dyke Nicola Coles Isaac Grainger Andrew Nicholson
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