Bumper fund raising year ahead for Joining Jack

Action from the fourth annual Wigan 10K, supporters lined the streets to support runners on the course around Wigan
Action from the fourth annual Wigan 10K, supporters lined the streets to support runners on the course around Wigan

Wigan-based charity Joining Jack is hoping more people than ever will get active in 2017 and help to raise vital funds.

A new town running festival and bike ride are being organised, while the popular Wigan 10k will be returning for the fifth time.

Jack and Alex Johnson

Jack and Alex Johnson

They will raise money for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy in honour of eight-year-old Jack Johnson (pictured right with mum Alex), the inspiration behind the charity who has the condition and whose dad Andy is a former Wigan Warrior.

And they could be great challenges for people making their New Year resolutions and looking for ways to burn off those mince pies.

The first Run Wigan Festival will be held on Sunday, March 19, with runners having the option of taking part in one-mile, 5km and half marathon races.

For people who prefer to use pedal power, bike rides covering five miles and 50 miles are being held for the first time on Sunday, July 2.

Cyclists taking part in the Great Manchester Cycle in aid of Joining Jack

Cyclists taking part in the Great Manchester Cycle in aid of Joining Jack

Event organiser Matt Johnson said: “We just want to build on the amazing success of the 10k.

“We think the people of Wigan and the North West have really taken the event to their hearts and we are hoping that the Run Wigan Festival, with everything that is going on then, and the bike ride and then of course the fifth Wigan 10k will provide a memorable year for the charity.”

The inaugural Run Wigan Festival is being launched following the success of the Wigan 10k.

The half marathon will provide a new challenge for some runners, while others may prefer the 5km race or the family one-mile run.

The races will take in part of the Wigan 10k route but the half marathon will also see runners take in Haigh Hall.

More than 700 people have already signed up for the half marathon and more than 150 for the 5k.

Matt said: “In March, the 5k race will give runners who perhaps feel the 10k may be a little long for them a chance to get into running and also offer our 10k runners a great fast 5k to include in their training, while the half-marathon will give our 10k runners the chance to take the next step.

“We want to give runners of all ages the chance to take part and decided that we would like to add a family mile. This will be open to runners of any age or fitness level, is only £3 to take part and all finishers will receive our new 2017 Joining Jack medal. Any adult running with a child under the age of 11 can run for free.”

Fund-raisers have previously taken part in other bike rides in aid of Joining Jack, but this will be the first time the charity has organised one of its own.

People can sign up for a five-mile family ride or a 50-mile ride along a challenging route through Lancashire, similar to the Ironman UK course.

Both rides will start and finish at Mesnes Park.

Matt said: “The bike ride will be another fabulous day. If anyone has been a part of the Joining Jack team in the bike rides we have been a part of in the past, they will know all about the special camaraderie that exists on the day.

“Staging our own bike ride was simply the next step and we hope both the Wigan and cycling public will take the event to their hearts.”

The popular Wigan 10k will return on Sunday, September 3 for the fifth year. More than 200 people have already signed up - despite the race being many months away. The 2016 event was the biggest and best yet and it is hoped that next year’s race will be even better.

Matt said: “As far our fifth 10k in September, we can only promise to make it even better than the previous four! It really is going to be a tremendous 2017 for Joining Jack with three fantastic events and we are really looking forward to it.”

And he added that many of the events also helped to boost participants’ own health.

To find out more about the events and sign up, visit runwiganfestivals.co.uk, www.wiganbikeride.co.uk or www.wigan10k.co.uk.