WITH just more than a week to go before the Wigan 10k, the 2,600 running should be in the latter part of their training.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds are expected to be raised for so many fantastic causes.
One of the charities which has attracted a large amount of runners is Joseph’s Goal, which raises money for research into Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH).
It is a rare genetic disorder which Joseph Kendrick, the son of the Observer’s football correspondent Paul, was diagnosed with shortly after birth.
Joseph’s Goal has been well backed by Wigan Athletic and little Joe was the club mascot in the FA Cup final.
The four-year-old was carried onto the pitch by Latics skipper Emmerson Boyce and captured the hearts of millions.
One of those hearts belong to Emmerson’s wife, Lucy. So much so that she has decided to get her trainers on and run the Wigan 10k for Joseph’s Goal.
“It was an extremely proud moment for me to watch Emmerson step out with Joseph at the FA Cup final,” recalled Lucy.
“As overwhelming as it was, I felt it epitomised who Emmerson is and what he’s about. He’s an immensely loyal, caring, giving, kind-hearted man who would do anything for anyone and always gives his all, 110 per cent.
“He totally deserved the recognition for what he did for Joseph and his family that day, and he did it honourably and with integrity. He is a very loving and proud father himself so it was second nature for him to put Joseph first before his own stresses and pressure that day.
“I had seen the various support around the club for Joseph’s Goal throughout the season but obviously that day at the cup final really pulled at my heart strings, it was so emotional.
“It was when I saw Paul Kendrick, Joseph’s father, promoting the Wigan 10K run, I felt it was a calling for me to give back and do something good for that special little boy who will always hold a special place in our family’s hearts.
“It was an opportunity for me to show my support for this great cause as well. He will always be remembered as Wigan Athletic’s lucky mascot and to be part of such a special moment in not only the club’s history but in my husband’s career, Joseph’s Goal deserves as much recognition as possible.
“This year I’ve noticed the awareness for the charity grow due to the hard work and dedication Joseph’s parents, Paul and Emma, and everyone else behind the campaign, have put into it.
“Obviously the FA Cup Final was the ultimate publicity and also the support of the club and it’s players wearing the Joseph’s Goal wristbands.”
Lucy has got to know a lot of Latics fans through her Twitter account and many have offered kind words of support ahead of her run.
One person who has been a huge help has been her husband though. Not only has the Latics captain offered advice and training tips, he’s also offered to double whatever she makes from his own pocket.
“Emmerson has, naturally, been very helpful with my training,” added Lucy. “I thought he would be a bit tougher on me to be honest but I think he realises it’s quite a challenge I’ve set myself having done no regular exercise prior.
“I think he’s been quite surprised by my progress, I know I am! It really is amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.
“He’s very good at motivating me and even gave me some motivational running and training quotes to help me through on the bad days. He’s given me realistic targets to meet each week and never makes me feel guilty for my rest days- he says recovery is very important, so I’m happy for my days off when I’m aching.
“Although I’m quite nervous, I am very much looking forward to the day now. It really should be a special day with so many people running for great causes.
“I’ve been humbled by peoples’ generosity and encouragement along my journey and am looking forward to mingling with everyone on the day.
“Emmerson and our three children will be there to support me too, which will mean a lot. I’ve never done anything like this before in my life so I’m not being particularly competitive about finishing times or anything,
“I just want to enjoy the day, soak up the atmosphere and raise as much money as possible for Joseph’s Goal. It’s a wonderful opportunity for anyone, no matter their level of fitness, to get involved in doing something for charity.”
Lucy also says that her family has been blown away by the way Wigan get behind local causes.
Emmerson is one of Wigan Athletic’s longest-serving players and she says the club’s supporters have made them feel so welcome over they years.
She said: “I think the people of Wigan are fantastic. Everyone has been so friendly, welcoming and supportive since the day we came here just over seven years ago.
“I am forever fascinated between the cultural differences of the north and the south, and we feel totally at ease and at home up here.
“The Wigan Athletic fans are terrific and extremely loyal to the club. They truly deserve the recent successes and we are so happy to have been a part of it.”