Wigan 10k was bigger and better than ever

Personal bests and fund-raising targets were smashed yesterday at the fourth annual Wigan 10k.

Crowds lined the streets to support runners as they tackled the course, cheering as they passed.

Action from the fourth annual Wigan 10K

Action from the fourth annual Wigan 10K

The race was bigger than ever before, with more than 3,500 people taking part and many volunteers involved. And first place went to Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers with an impressive time of 31 minutes, 26 seconds.

Before the race began, runners gathering in the town centre were treated to a music mix put together by former Wigan Warriors player Martin Offiah.

As they assembled at the start line on Market Street, there was a countdown and special message from Jack Johnson, the inspiration behind charity and race organisers Joining Jack.

The eight-year-old was the official race starter, along with Wigan Warriors players Sam Tomkins and Josh Charnley.

Runners were invited to do the Joining Jack salute before streaming over the start line and onto the 10km course.

Among the competitors were the Mayor of Wigan, Coun Ron Conway, Leigh MP Andy Burnham and charity fund-raiser Stuart Tagg, who wore a Peppa Pig costume in memory of his son Thomas.

They ran out of the town centre along Park Road and Scot Lane, to the DW Stadium where members of the Wigan Warriors squad were handing out water.

Runners went onto the track at Robin Park and through Mesnes Park as they made their way back to the town centre.

Tired legs and smiling faces made their way across the finish line and everyone received a medal featuring a handwritten message from Jack and a goodie bag.

The race was a fund-raiser for Joining Jack, but also a chance for runners to raise money for other causes close to their hearts.

Afterwards, runners and their supporters celebrated by tucking into food from an international street market in the town centre.

They also enjoyed live music as bands performed on a stage outside The Moon Under Water.

The highlight was a performance by Starsailor frontman James Walsh, who closed the show.

It brought to an end a weekend of running, which had started on Saturday with Junior Joining races for children at Robin Park Arena.

For runners hoping to beat their time or anyone inspired to take up the challenge, registration is expected to open later this week for next year’s Wigan 10k.

Entries are also being taken for the inaugural Wigan Run Festival, which will take place on Sunday, March 19.

There will be a 5km race and a half marathon, as well as a one-mile run for children.