Former Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba is appealing for Yeovil fans to ‘Run for Muamba’ at this year’s Bupa Great Manchester Run.
The 25-year-old is the official starter for this year’s event and has urged football fanatics from Yeovil to join him in their club colours on the starting line come May 26.
Muamba is hoping to recruit a runner to representeach of the 92 football league clubsin a show of unity and to celebrate his return to health.
The ex-Bolton Wanderers midfielder almost died after he collapsed with sudden cardiac arrest while playing against Tottenham last year, but has astounded medics with his recovery.
Muamba said: “I am calling on all football fans to put their rivalry and differences aside and unite to raise money for great causes across the UK.It’s amazing what can be achieved when we do this.
“I am delighted to be involved in this fantastic event and I urge people across the UK to sign-up and get involved too. You can raise money for a great cause, or you can do it just to keep fit - whatever your motivation, I look forward to waving you off at the starting line on May 26.”
Muamba was forced to retire from football following the incident but his popularity in the professional game remains very strong. In recognition of this, a team of 25 runners – one for each year of his life - will also take part in the Bupa Great Manchester Run.
The team, which will include Bolton Wanderers club chaplain, Phil Mason, will run for the Arrhythmia Alliance ‘Hearts and Goals’ campaign, which helps place lifesaving AEDs (automated external defibrillators) in communities.
David Hart, Communications Director of Nova, the organisers of the Bupa Great Manchester Run, said: “We are really thrilled that Fabrice has accepted our invitation and we’d love to see football fans showing their support for both him and ‘Hearts and Goals’ at the Bupa Great Manchester Run.
“Like everybody else, we were willing Fabrice to pull through last March and the fact that he is here is a real cause for celebration.”
Previous honorary starters of the Bupa Great Manchester Run, which is televised live on BBC television, include Sir Alex Ferguson, Andrew Flintoff, Jess Ennis, Victoria Pendleton, Sir Bobby Charlton, Amir Khan and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.
To support runners taking part in the event for the Arrhythmia Alliance ‘Hearts and Goals’ Campaign, donations can be made by text using JustTextGiving by Vodafone.
To donate £3 text FABS25 £3 to 70070 to help ensure all communities have public-access defibrillators and more people in the UK are AED and CPR trained. The text is free to send and 100% of every penny donated goes to charity. Gift Aid can easily be added.
Further details and entry is available at www.greatrun.org/Manchester with entries being accepted on a first come, first served basis until the limit of 40,000 is achieved. Football fans who want to ‘Run for Muamba’ should email details to RunForMuamba@greatrun.org