A Huddersfield woman is preparing to go not just the extra mile, but an extra 26, in memory of her best friend who died from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of just 33.

Michaela Flaherty, 35, will be running the London Marathon later this month for the British Heart Foundation to support their research and development programmes and is asking the community to come together and help her on this epic challenge.

She is running for her friend-since-school, mum-of-four Rachel Kilbourne, from Brighouse, who lost her life suddenly in December 2022.

Following Rachel’s death, her parents, three sisters and four daughters have all been tested for the condition, possible thanks to British Heart Foundation funded genetic research.

Over £3,000 has already been generously donated to Michaela’s fundraising ahead of the 26.2 mile marathon on Sunday April 21.

But she wants to raise as much as possible so is inviting everyone here to join her to ‘Walk a Mile With Me’ the week before, on Sunday April 14.

Marking the end of her training, she would like people to walk one mile with her around Bailiff Bridge – setting off from the Memorial Gardens at 1.30pm and then finishing at Bailiff Bridge Community Centre.

Following the walk, everyone is also invited to join her there between 2pm and 6pm when there will be refreshments, a bake sale, raffle and more to raise money and remember Rachel.

Michaela said: “There hasn’t been a single day gone by since Rachel died that I don’t think of her, so submitting the application and writing a reason why I wanted to run in her memory was easy.

“The hard part was making the decision to accept the place when I found out I was successful.

“The challenge I am facing is nothing though compared to the challenge her family has faced. I hope to show my support for them, and for research into heart conditions, by taking on the London Marathon and raising as much money as possible.

“Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, your continued support will go to an amazing cause and keep me going throughout the 26.2 miles.”

Rachel’s sister, Leah Burke, said: “We can’t thank Michaela enough for her incredible support – both to us as a family over the past few really hard months, but also for taking on this amazing challenge and raising money to support the British Heart Foundation.

“The charity does amazing work researching hidden heart conditions, discovering how we treat them, and supporting genetic testing for those, like us, who have been devastated by the death of a loved one.

“Michaela’s efforts, and the kindness of everyone who is supporting her, will make a real difference to so many lives today and in the future.”

Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/page/michaela-flaherty-runningforrachel