Entries open today for the next Run Wigan Festival – and it is set to be even bigger than before.
Organisers from charity Joining Jack have announced next year’s event will be held on Sunday, March 17.
The popular half marathon, 5k and family mile will return to Wigan town centre for the third annual event.
But 2019 will also see the addition of a new 10-mile race, which organisers hope will prove to be popular.
Race organiser Matt Johnson said: “I think a lot of people want to take part in our events because they really like them, but think it’s quite a hard course around Haigh Hall. They want to take part and might be training for other half marathons or marathons.
“I looked at it and thought 10 miles is a classic distance and is becoming popular at other events, so we could use the same route.”
The 10-mile course will see runners miss out a section of the half marathon course around Haigh Hall.
Matt said: “We don’t want it to have a detrimental effect on the half marathon, so we are going to restrict it to 450 people.
“If people are targeting that, I would recommend that they register early for it, because once it’s sold out, we won’t be looking at increasing the numbers.”
The opening of registration for next year’s event will be welcome news for many.
Snow and ice led to the cancellation of this year’s half marathon in March – along with other races held elsewhere – but organisers managed to go ahead with the 5k and family mile.
Matt said: “We put so much work into it and 12 months of planning and it came down to 24 hours of bad weather.
“Everything we put in place for this year will be implemented next year, but we will have this new event as well.
“I think the free pie went down well so that will be available again at the Run Wigan Festival.”
Runners due to take part in the cancelled half marathon were offered the chance to earn their medal by completing the distance “virtually” instead.
Matt said: “The response overall has been fantastic and a large percentage have wanted to do the virtual half marathon and are grateful they have been able to do that.”
He said he was grateful as it meant the charity could keep the entry fees to help fund research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the condition which his 10-year-old nephew Jack Johnson has.
Refunds were made available for people who preferred to have their money back.
Registration for Run Wigan Festival is due to open this morning at runwiganfestivals.co.uk.
The team at Joining Jack are also organising the Wigan Bike Ride, which will be held on July 22, and the Wigan 10k on September 9.