RL stars give Jack’s fund a push!

Jack Johnson makes his famous Joining Jack salute as he is pushed across the finsihing line of last year's Wigan 10k

Jack Johnson makes his famous Joining Jack salute as he is pushed across the finsihing line of last year's Wigan 10k

Nine-year-old Jack Johnson - the inspiration behind charity Joining Jack - will take part in the inaugural Run Wigan Festival.

The youngster will join hundreds of runners on the streets of Wigan on Sunday, March 19.

Jack, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, will be pushed in his wheelchair by retired rugby league stars Wayne Godwin and Ewan Dowes.

Godwin played for several clubs including Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers, while Dowes spent several years at Hull.

Matt Johnson, Jack’s uncle and festival organiser, said: “We approached them and said Jack was really keen to do the half marathon and would they push him.

“Jack is a little bit nervous about it, as every runner is, but he wants to be part of the day.”

Jack has previously taken part in the Wigan 10k, which is also organised by Joining Jack, and was the official starter for the race in September.

The Run Wigan Festival will see a half marathon, 5k race and one-mile family run held for the first time.

Around 1,500 people have already entered the half marathon, 500 have signed up for the 5k and 120 for the mile.

Matt said: “With five weeks to go I’m pleased with the numbers. What we have found with the Wigan 10k is we get a big surge in the last few weeks as people have done a bit of training and are injury-free and feel good about their running, so we are expecting a surge in the next few weeks.”

Preparations are now well under way for the event.

The medals have arrived, the finishers’ T-shirt has been finalised and numbers will be available in the coming weeks.

Organisers have collected the lead car from HW Moon Toyota and it now has the festival livery.

The races will start in Wigan town centre and a music mix has been prepared by former Wigan Warriors star Martin Offiah.

After crossing the finish line, runners will receive a medal and other goodies.

There will be a European food market and live music by The Beard Band, Marcadia, The VC and Ravellas.

Runners are being offered free entry to Wigan Warriors’ match against Huddersfield Giants at 3pm that day.

To find out more about Run Wigan Festival and enter, go to runwiganfestivals.co.uk.