This April Team Heart and Team Lungs laced up their boots, put on their team t-shirts and started covering ground for the rematch we had all been waiting for: Heart vs Lungs 2.0 

Team Heart narrowly won last September’s challenge, but Team Lungs were raring to even the score. This time, we had a new addition: celebrity team captains. Team Heart was led by actress and singer Claire Sweeney and Team Lungs by Paralympic table tennis players Aaron McKibbin and Will Bayley. 

Claire Sweeney said: “I am really excited to be leading Team Heart as we defend our title! I’m sure Team Heart will give it everything they’ve got and walk away with it again this year.” 

Will Bayley said: “It’s a real privilege to be on Team Lungs this year,” and he encouraged participants to “get out there, smash it and have a great time. 

Over 400 people from around the country took part in this year’s virtual race, which started at Harefield hospital and went all the way to Sydney, Australia. Max Glover’s warm up video and the team captain’s encouragement meant that everyone was very excited for the race to start on Easter Saturday. 

The virtual starting pistol was fired at 9am on Saturday 3 April, with a video of staff waving flags on the steps of Harefield HospitalThen the teams were off. Team Lungs pulled away to an early lead, but before the teams were out of Europe Team Heart had edged into pole position. 

The virtual route took in 22 countries on three continents. It covered EuropeThe Middle East, Central Asia and a detour around China, before winding down through South East Asia and finishing up by crossing Australia to Sydney. 

Claire Sweeney gave a shout out to Darren Chamberlain at the half-way point, who was covering ground for Team Heart on a 100-year-old bicycle. Team Lungs doffed their caps to Kirstin East who covered ground for Team Lungs on a sled pulled by a team of huskies. Together both teams covered 41,173.2 miles, more than last year’s 35,665.8 miles.  

Some participants took on epic challenges along the way. Max Glover covered 100km for Team Lungs carrying 100kg, which is 102% if his body weight, and raised £1,240. Stephen Thomas scaled Pen Y Fan in Wales for Team Heart. 

Barbara Galbraith and the Heart Strings covered 2,641.1 miles between them and raised an impressive £1,965. Errol Greene covered ground for Team Lungs following his recent lung transplant. Errol said: “Five months ago, I could never have dreamed I would be well enough to walk outside and be fundraising. But the amazing lung transplant team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physios and all those involved in the process made it possible. I'm so happy to be able to raise funds to show my appreciation and gratitude.” 

Team Heart made it across the finishing line first, but Team Lungs weren’t far behind. Well done everyone who took part. 

On hearing the news that her team had won, Team Heart captain Claire Sweeney said: “I just want to say a huge congratulations to everyone who has taken part in the Heart vs Lungs challenge. You've done an amazing job. You've gone all the way from Harefield Hospital all the way to Australia and it's just amazing. Congratulations.” She also said thanks to The Nursing Nutters, a group of ITU nurses that have raised £945 for the hospitals. 

Aaron McKibbin said: “Congratulations to everyone for the effort they put in this year.” He also paid tribute to Amy’s Angels who covered an astonishing 2,912.9 miles for Team Lungs. 

The participants raised funds for our Covid-19 Relief Fund, which aims to provide for patients and staff at both our hospitals who are fighting Covid-19, as well as looking after their wellbeing in the future. Everyone gave very generously and together we raised £22,808.26. 

The prize for most funds raised went to Barbara and the Heart Strings who raised £1,965. 

The prize for the group who covered the most ground went to Anbu’s Army who covered 3,469.1 miles for Team Heart. The prize for the individual who covered the most ground goes to Natalie Wickings who covered 624 miles for Team Lungs. 

The prize for the most unusual way to cover ground went to Kirstin East for her husky sled ride. 

Well done Team Heart on your victory and well played Team Lungs for covering so much ground. Congratulations to all prize winners and to everyone who raised funds for our Covid-19 Relief Fund. Your generosity will make a big difference to patients and staff at both our hospitals.