The London Heart Trail has been launched to extend the health legacy of European Society of Cardiology (ESC) congress to the heart of the city by encouraging physical activity.

The ESC congress takes place at ExCeL London from 29 August – 2 September, welcoming 35,000 leading cardiologists to the UK capital for one of the world’s largest and most influential cardiovascular events. The congress is expected to generate more than £100 million in economic benefit for London, and highlights the success of MedCity – an organisation launched one year ago to promote the life sciences knowledge hub in London and the greater south east of England. 

MedCity is a collaboration between the Mayor of London and the Capital’s three Academic Health Science Centres – Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, King’s Health Partners and UCLPartners – bringing together world-class research, education and clinical practice, while encouraging and facilitating entrepreneurship and investment. It is supported by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and London & Partners. London and the south east is home to a vibrant life sciences community of bio-pharma and med-tech SMEs and global companies, with major new investments including the £650m Francis Crick Institute, a new centre of world-leading biomedical research and innovation, and the national Cell Therapy Catapult focusing on stem cell research.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It’s an honour to welcome thousands of international cardiology experts to London. The focus of the medical world will once more be on our great city as a leader in science, education and medical innovation, making it the perfect opportunity to also get Londoners and visitors thinking about the simple steps they can take to look after their health. Walking is one of the best – and healthiest – ways to explore the capital and the London Heart Trail App will signpost some of our greatest attractions, whilst learning about our own health and wellbeing at the same time.”

The interactive one to two-hour walk along the South Bank between the London Eye and Tower Bridge is free to enter, with an optional charity donation to the British Heart Foundation. Participants can win prizes by completing interactive challenges and answering questions about heart health using the London Heart Trail App. The London Heart Trail has been developed by London & Partners in association with the British Heart Foundation, King’s Health Partners and ExCeL London, and produced by psLIVE with the app developed by Wildgoose Events.

Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, London’s official promotional company, which led the bid to secure the ESC congress, said: “It is fantastic that in London we are able to make the best of both worlds – drawing in investment while promoting a healthy lifestyle for future generations of Londoners and visitors to our city.”

Tristam Jones, Head of Mass Participation at the British Heart Foundation, added: “We’re delighted to be chosen as the charity partner for the London Heart Trail. Heart disease is heartless, and can affect anyone at any age. That’s why we’re pioneering innovative research to help change the way we prevent and treat these devastating conditions which blight the lives of over seven million people across the UK. By taking part in the London Heart Trail, and donating to the BHF, you can help us fund new life saving discoveries and continue our fight for every heartbeat.”

The London Heart Trail will run until 3 September 2015.
Featured image: Representatives from the European Society of Cardiology and London & Partners on the London Heart Trail. Picture by Ben Stevens / i-Images