IT was always going to be a tough task to match the first Wigan 10k but yesterday, as the sun shone down on the 3,157 runners, the second one was arguably even better.
All that’s best about the town was encapsulated in a wonderfully organised and incredibly successful event. It was also another day to be proud to be a Wiganer.
As well as the huge number of runners, thousands more lined the streets and packed into the town centre to enjoy a special occasion.
It’s estimated that more than £100,000 was raised for various charities.
On Saturday, children played their part in the fund-raising with 1k, 2k and 3k runs at Robin Park.
As the sun rose yesterday, the countless kind-hearted volunteers, who helped the day tick over so successfully descended on Marketplace to welcome the runners.
As they all filtered in, the atmosphere and excitement grew with the 10am start time growing nearer.
The event was organised by Joining Jack, the local charity set up by former Wigan Warriors star Andy Johnson to raise funds for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research following his son Jack’s diagnosis.
That rugby league connection saw a number of legends from the game come out and run the route too with the likes of Steve Hampson, Paul Sculthorpe and Kris Radlinski all taking part.
Less than 48 hours earlier they had all been playing in a special charity match at the DW Stadium for Joining Jack alongside former Wigan captain Andy Farrell, who got the second Wigan 10k underway.
As runners made their way along the route towards the DW Stadium via Woodhouse Lane, Scot Lane and Stadium Way, they were cheered on by spectators out in numbers that seemed even bigger than last year. Once at the ground they made their way back with added detours of Martland Mill industrial estate and Mesnes Park.
There a special kids’ zone was set up and local singer Andy Mack was spurring runners on through the last couple of kilometres with songs and special words of encouragement.
And as they crossed the finish line and rested their tiring legs, each one received a commemorative medal.
First over the line was 22-year-old Thomas Carson who entered Market Street to rapturous applause.
The race was just the start of the party, too, with the continental markets in the town centre replenishing runners with food from around the world while beer tents supplied them with well-deserved pints.
Taking it all in with a broad smile was organiser Matt Johnson from Joining Jack, who was delighted with how the day went.
He said: “The course was brilliant and I thought the weather made it but the spectators again were so great coming out and supporting everybody.
“There were so many people out, the weather really helped in that respect so a big thank you to those guys.
“It’s been a great day all round. Hopefully now we can kick on. We’ve done two now so we’ve hopefully established ourselves as a 10k and people know about it.
“So many charities have benefitted, not just Joining Jack, which is what it’s all about. The volunteers have been amazing as well, I’m absolutely delighted.”
SEE THE WIGAN EVENING POST (MONDAY) AND THE WIGAN OBSERVER (TUESDAY) FOR PAGES AND PAGES OF PICTURES ...