Kevin Phillips

Birmingham City Football Club have jumped at the chance to pledge their support to the Corporate Relay Challenge 2010, a fundraising race which has been launched in aid of military patients treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) and to develop budding Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

The Premier League club are always willing to back events that compliment the UK’s second city, particularly where campaigns such as the QEHB Charity’s ‘Build a home for the Brave’ and the University of Birmingham Sport (UBSport) sport’s scholarship scheme are involved.

Blues striker Kevin Phillips said: ‘Although I unfortunately can not be there on the day, I didn’t have to think twice to supporting the Corporate Relay Challenge and I urge teams to sign up for it now.

‘It is vitally important to support our brave troops and that doesn’t just include those that are out serving their country in war zones. In ‘Building a home for the Brave’, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have set up a campaign that goes to show that their bravery will always be appreciated.

‘As for the University of Birmingham‘s sports scholarships, anything that will help to bring out the potential in this country’s rising stars should be applauded, especially with London 2012 fast approaching.’

The Corporate Relay Challenge 2010 will take place this year on Wednesday, September 22, in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham. Registration starts at 5pm with the first race at 6pm.

Teams of four are encouraged to take part in the event, which is a relay race around a one mile circuit in the park. Last year over 300 teams of all ages, fitness levels and running ability took part.

While there are prizes on offer for the fastest teams, there are also prizes for best fancy dress and the highest amount of sponsorship raised, and every runner receives a medal.

The proceeds will be split equally between the QEHB Charity and the UBSport scholarship scheme, which is also a registered charity.

The QEHB Charity treats military patients from around the world and wants to support their care by creating a Forces & Families Centre, where military patients can spend time in a non-clinical environment away from the ward with their families, friends and colleagues from their regiments.

Mike Hammond, Chief Executive of the hospital charity, says: ‘Many of the military patients at the QE are keen football fans and were delighted to hear that Birmingham City Football Club supports the Corporate Relay Challenge.

‘Having one of the city's largest sporting institutions being involved with this event just shows how many people in Birmingham want to support the care of military patients as well as supporting future University's sports scholarship programme.’

Scholarship manager and current UK steeplechase champion, Luke Gunn, agrees. ‘We at University of Birmingham Sport are delighted to secure Birmingham City Football Club support.

‘For them to give their attention to two such worthy causes is commendable and we are looking forward to making this year the most successful yet.’

With limited funding, events such as the Corporate Relay Challenge are crucial to the continued development of the programme and enable UBSport to offer more scholarships to help develop the sporting stars of the future.