Runners set to go virtual to boost JJ coffers

Runners taking part in the 5k
Runners taking part in the 5k
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Runners have welcomed the chance to claim a medal for the cancelled Wigan half marathon by doing a virtual run.

Snow and ice led to the cancellation of the race, which was part of the second annual Run Wigan Festival.

Entrants were instead invited to take part in the 5k race held on the same day, with changes made to the course to avoid icy Mesnes Park.

Organisers from Joining Jack have since announced they are not able to reschedule the half marathon as the charity “simply cannot incur the costs”.

However, they have offered entrants the opportunity to earn a medal and T-shirt by completing the distance virtually.

Alternatively, people can ask for a full refund, but organisers appealed for this to be done “only as a last resort”.

The offer of a virtual run has been welcomed by many entrants.

In fact, it proved to be so popular that organisers are giving people who did not enter the race the chance to sign up for the virtual run.

They said: “We have had an amazing response to the decision to offer runners the chance to complete a virtual run to receive their official T-shirt and medal.

“Huge thanks to everyone for being so supportive of our event and ultimately our amazing organising charity Joining Jack.

“Due to popular demand, we are offering runners who couldn’t make Sunday’s race the chance to sign up and complete a virtual run.”

On Facebook, Peter Hitchen said: “Virtual route it is. I hope everybody understands the situation and supports you”.

Philip Thornthwaite said: “Virtual run for me, would much prefer the money goes to charity and that JJ doesn’t lose out in the great work they do. Got to put it on Strava though or it didn’t happen”.

Paula Fairlamb said: “I have to say I am stunned at the offer of a refund. What an incredible thing to do. Big race organisers probably wouldn’t even consider it. I will definitely be doing the virtual run down here in Essex (as part of my 20 mile marathon training run). Looking forward to getting the T-shirt and medal. Hopefully I can come up and do next year’s and this freak weather doesn’t make a reappearance!”.

Rebecca Whitaker said: “I’m so pleased you’re offering the virtual run option, I’ve already done it twice during training so I’ll definitely be taking that option”.

Danielle Richardson said: “Whooo!! Made up with the option to run it virtually! Running it with Ladies from our community Run Mummy Run on Saturday!! Can’t wait to get my medal”.

Gary Hirst said: “Who in the right mind would want a refund, proud to be a Wiganer and proud to contribute to a great cause, I’ve done the virtual run on the day covering 14.1 mile including 5 mile of the course took in the atmosphere going up through wigan so im well happy and can respect the professional decision of the organisers, how hard of a decision that must have been, well done and good luck to all concerned for next year”.

Donna Kelsall said: “Option 1 for me!!! I’d just like to applaud the organisers for how they’ve handed this whole situation. Allowing the half runners to take part in the 5K (and getting a medal as well ... really wasn’t expecting one!) and fantastic communication throughout the whole thing! I’ll be back next year!”.

Elizabeth Prior said: “I’ll be doing a virtual one. Gutted it was cancelled but totally understand it was the last option. Can’t have been easy making that decision”.

Runners who originally entered the half marathon can complete any 13.1-mile route and email the organisers at info@joiningjack.org before Monday, April 30 to claim their medal and T-shirt.

Any new entrants for the virtual half marathon should make a £26 donation to Joining Jack with the reference “HM virtual runner”, using the account details at joiningjack.org/how-you-can-help/how-to-donate.

They should then send an email with their name, address and date of donation. Entries will be taken until Friday, April 27.

Those wishing to request a refund have until Saturday, March 31 to email Joining Jack.