|Councillors say “count us in for the Wigan 10k”
Cllr Conway, Cllr Kenny, Cllr Rotherham, Cllr Moodie, Cllr Ready and Cllr Bretherton.
They’re used to running for public office but now a group of councillors are in training for a very different kind of run.
They’ve signed up for Wigan’s first ever 10k road race, which takes place on Sunday 8 September. The energetic group of elected representatives, who are more used to competing against their political opponents, have come together to run the race for charity. And they’ve vowed to complete the course without any filibustering or political points-scoring.
It means the politicians in charge of the borough’s public services will be running round the town’s streets with the public. Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for sport and leisure, is one of those who’ve signed up. He said: “As a politician, I like to win. As a runner, I’m just hoping to finish. I’ve been training hard and there are still a few weeks to go. I might not be Mo Farrah but I reckon I can manage this.
“It’s going to be a great day for the whole of the borough. Even if you’re not taking part, you should get down to the town centre to enjoy the atmosphere and cheer on the runners. Hopefully a lot of money is going to be raised for good causes. And hopefully I won’t do any lasting damage to my body.”
Councillor Ready is raising money for local charity Joseph’s Goal and Wigan and Leigh Hospice. His training partner is Councillor Ron Conway, ward councillor for Aspull, New Springs and Whelley. Councillor Conway is an experienced cyclist, who regularly rides 100 miles a week. However, he is a less experienced runner. He said: “I’ve never run 10k before. I’m quite active and have been doing some runs to get ready. It’s shame I can’t do it on my bike but as long as I beat Councillor Ready, I’ll be happy.”
Councillor Paul Kenny, ward councillor for Winstanley, Councillor Joel Haddley, ward councillor for Ashton, Councillor Jim Moodie, ward councillor for Ince and Councillor Ged Bretherton, ward councillor for Golborne and Lowton West are all running the race for the Mayor’s charity, which this year is Heartbeat 2 which raises funds for the Coronary Care Unit at Wigan Infirmary.
The Mayor of Wigan Borough, Councillor Billy Rotherham, said: “I’m really grateful to the councillors who are doing the race on behalf of my charity. I’ve used the unit at Wigan Infirmary myself and know first-hand the fantastic work they do. The money raised will be going to a great cause.
“Sadly, I’ve long since hung up my running shoes. But I’m sure this is going to be a great occasion and the council, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Greater Manchester Police and charity Joining Jack should be congratulated for making it possible.”
The Wigan 10k Run is being organised by Joining Jack, the charity set-up by former Wigan Warriors player Andy Johnson and his wife Alex. They launched it last year when their five-year-old son Jack was diagnosed with rare condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The charity is raising money to pay for research into the condition. Runners pay an entry fee that goes to the charity but they can raise money for a cause of their choice.
The run will follow a route around Wigan town centre and is the first of its kind in the borough. There will be a special festival in the town centre on the day of the run featuring bands, a food market and children’s rides.
Places are filling up fast but there are still some spaces for runners. A host of rugby league stars have agreed to take part and TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher has signed up too.
Councillor Paul Kenny said: “I have run a 10k before but that was five years ago. I’m feeling pretty good about this one, though. The people of Wigan Borough love anything sport-related so I expect there will be lots of spectators lining the route cheering on the runners and looking out for any red-faced councillors.”
Councillor Jim Moodie said: “There’s a healthy rivalry between the councillors doing the race. Politicians are naturally competitive people so that’s to be expected. Personally, I don’t mind where I come as long as I beat Councillor Ready.”
Councillor Ged Bretherton said: “I think all the other councillors reckon I’m really fit and going to run a really fast time. I’m looking forward to proving them wrong on both counts. The training has been getting easier though. Now it takes me less than a week to recover after I’ve done a run. That’s progress.”