Town to get half marathon in running festival

A festival of running is coming to Wigan!

Tuesday, 19th July 2016, 2:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th July 2016, 4:44 pm
Joining Jack founder Andy Johnson, Mayor and Mayoress of Wigan Councillor Ron Conway and Janet Conway, Dorothy Moon car dealership managing director, general manager of car dealership Steven Mather and event organiser Matt Johnson

Following the remarkable success of the town’s first ever 10k event, organisers have planned another day, which will include a half marathon and a 5k.

The inaugural Wigan Run Festival will take place on Sunday, March 19 next year, with a third event being held for children over a one-mile course.

All three routes will take in much of the usual Wigan 10k route but the half marathon will also see runners take in Haigh Hall.

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The Wigan half marathon route

After they have done their usual lap of the DW Stadium, they will head to the saddle junction via Frith Street and up along Wallgate into the town centre.

However, with the entertainment, European food market and beer tents within touching distance for them at the five-a-and-a-half-mile point, they’ll continue the run to the Hall by heading to the canal along Warrington Road.

Like the Wigan 10k, the event is being organised by Joining Jack in association with Wigan Council and Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.

Very kindly though, the charity will once again be opening up the races for other charities to benefit from too.

The Wigan half marathon route

Organiser Matt Johnson said: “The thought was always there when we did the Wigan 10k. We put it on the back burner though. But listening to the feedback from the 10k and how it’s grown in three years, it’s a natural progression.

“We’ve got to thank the leader of Wigan Council and the mayor for their support.

“We have a great team of people who help put the 10k together with the council and Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.

“We’ve put a lot of thought into the half marathon route and we’re sure people will enjoy it.

“We’ve also got the one-mile event for children. Hopefully there’s something for everyone.”

Matt is the uncle of Jack Johnson, the inspiration behind the Joining Jack charity.

The eight-year-old, whose smile lit up last year’s Wigan 10k when he was pushed around by his mum Alex, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy for which Joining Jack raises money for research. Earlier this month, Jack scaled the height of Snowdon with a number of other little fund-raisers in the annual “Kiddie Climb”.

His dad, former Wigan rugby player Andy, said: “We’re confident of another great day; it’s another date for the diary.

“We keep looking for different things to keep the charity in the spotlight. With the success of the 10k, it’s another event that people will get behind I’m sure.

“Jack is coping and doing very well at the moment. He’s so happy and outgoing, he’s just someone you want to hang out with and have a laugh with; he’s got a great personality.

“Every day I look forward to going home and seeing him.”

Wigan Run Festival is being sponsored by HW Moon Toyota at Martland Mill.

Centre Principal Steven Mather said: “We are delighted to be the main sponsor of the Wigan Run Festival.

“We were approached by Joining Jack and it was a no brainer to get involved really.

“We have a lot to do with Wigan Warriors so there is a connection there, it’s a wonderful charity.”

The event was officially launched the HW Moon Toyota showroom with the help of the Wigan Mayor who says he will be getting involved too.

“I run the Wigan 10k every year and it’s always such a fantastic event,” said Coun Ron Conway.

“I’ll be doing the 5k in this I think.

“The whole event has got such a brilliant profile and that is down to the organisers who do such a wonderful job.

“I’m sure it will be another great day.”

There will be an early bird entry offer for the half marathon which will end on September 30.