THE streets of Wigan are set to become the scene of a political showdown although it will not be a contest of policies and manifestoes.
Forget Coe versus Ovett or Blake versus Bolt, the next duelling pair to be added to sporting history will be two of the borough’s MPs.
As Lisa Nandy and Andy Burnham will put aside their party allegiances for one day only to take on one another in the inaugural Wigan 10k.
The race, organised by local charity Joining Jack alongside Wigan Council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, will take place in September and more than 600 runners have already signed up.
And the Labour party pair started their war of words early, exchanging barbs on their respective twitter accounts last month.
Shadow health secretary Mr Burnham kicked off proceedings by saying he would sign up to the race “only if Wigan MP agrees to a Leigh versus Wigan MPs race. Over to you Lisa Nandy.”
And the shadow children’s secretary promptly rose to the challenge, tweeting: “Better get training then, #countmein.”
This week Ms Nandy told the Evening Post that she would be going all out for the win against her party colleague and plans to show no mercy.
She said: “I’ve told Andy he’d better dust off his running shoes and start training if he wants to keep up with me.
“When he crosses the finishing line I’ll be there with a bottle of water for him.”
The first Wigan 10k will be held on 8 September with its start and finish in the town centre, passing a host of Wigan’s landmarks including Mesnes Park, DW Stadium and Wigan Youth Zone.
A team from the Wigan Evening Post will be running to raise money for our Joseph’s Goal campaign.
And Ms Nandy and Mr Burnham may not be the only representatives from the Labour party participating with a group of councillors rumoured to be taking part with Golborne Coun Ged Bretherton being handed the favourite’s tag.
Joining Jack has opened the event up to various local causes and organisers with the aim of attracting 2,000 runners.
The charity raises awareness and funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a condition that former Wigan RL star Andy Johnson’s five-year-old son Jack was diagnosed with in 2011.
To find out more about the Wigan 10k, visit www.wigan10k.co.uk