As runners gather at the start line for Sunday’s Run Wigan Festival, two participants will be lacing up their shoes thousands of miles away.
For Ollie Devlin and Amy Howells will be taking part in the races on treadmills on a ship in the Caribbean.
The pair are currently stationed on British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay, which is delivering humanitarian aid.
But they wanted to get involved to support Joining Jack after reading about the event.
Ollie, who is production sergeant at 17 Port And Maritime Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, said: “I have raised money for charity before and really enjoyed it.
“I organised a week’s worth of spin cycling with members of my workshop around Hampshire, also a charity football match between the regiment and ex-Southampton players, both raising funds for the soldiers’ charity, Army Benevolent Fund. We raised nearly £14,000.
“I will be running a half marathon on a treadmill at the same time as the Wigan half marathon sets off. I have also managed to recruit my friend onboard the ship, she will be running a 5k at the time the Wigan 5k sets off.”
He grew up in Southampton and follows Saints, so will be cheering them on after the race when they face Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarter final.
Amy, a Royal Navy operating department practitioner deployed in the sickbay, got involved after Ollie told her about the event.
She said: “I am not quite at Ollie’s standards of running, but I would love to be able to get involved and take part in the 5k run and help to raise some money for a great cause.”
The pair will have an early start, as it will be 3.30am in the Caribbean when the Run Wigan Festival gets under way at 9.30am.
But they are keen to raise money to support Joining Jack. To sponsor the pair, go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/OliverDevlin.
Runners will gather in Wigan town centre on Sunday morning ready for the race.
Ten-year-old Jack Johnson, the inspiration behind Joining Jack, will officially start the races, with the half marathon beginning at 9.30am and the 5k at 10.15am.
Former Wigan Warriors star Martin Offiah has again produced a music mix to be played at the start line.
The half marathon route takes runners past some of Wigan’s best known places, including Wigan Pier, DW Stadium and Haigh Hall, while the 5k goes through Mesnes Park.
A number of road closures will be in place during the day. Roads will be shut to traffic for the 5k and there will be a rolling roadblock for the half marathon.
However, organisers are confident that most runners will have passed the DW Stadium by 10.45am, well before Wigan Athletic’s FA Cup match against Southampton at 1.30pm.
The family mile, which is being held at Mesnes Park, will now start at 12.30pm instead of 1pm, allowing people to get to the game afterwards.
Registration for the family mile will be available on the day.