The red and blue of Merseyside came together on Saturday (12 May) to honour the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough tragedy on 15 April 1989 for the Run For The 96 5K in Stanley Park. Over 1,300 football fans, young and old, took part in the community legacy event, which is now in its fourth year.
This year, the route was changed slightly to include 96 Avenue at Anfield, taking runners past the Eternal Flame. The course also incorporated Goodison Park to recognise the support Everton Football Club has given to the Hillsborough families in their fight for justice.
The event brought a host of recognisable people within the community together in what was an emotional day. This included Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), who walked the 5K course for the second year, while Liverpool FC legend Jamie Carragher took part for the first time with dad, Phil Carragher. Carragher’s son James, and brother John also ran.
The 23 Foundation charity, set up by Bootle-born Jamie in 2009, came on-board to join Everton in the Community and Stanley Park CIC as this year’s official beneficiaries. Together, the trio support the vision of creating a positive community legacy event to honour The 96, with the commitment to ensure that local communities benefit from the event. The three good causes will receive monies donated and funds raised by participants.
Football club anthems, Liverpool’s You’ll Never Walk Alone and Everton’s Z Cars rang out across Stanley Park, followed by a minute’s applause from guests, runners and spectators to honour The 96. He Ain’t Heavy was played as the 5K runners set off. The 5K was followed by a 1 Mile Fun for youngsters, which was introduced last year.
Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), commented: “What another incredible year for Run For The 96 – and an important way to celebrate the lives of The 96 and honour their memory. It was particularly moving this year with the 5K route now taking in 96 Avenue and the Eternal Flame at Anfield. Everyone was able to take a moment and pay their respects as they passed, that was a very special moment.
Margaret continued: “It’s lovely to see people return year after year to show their continued support. And it’s so encouraging and heart-warming to see so many youngsters taking part, as they will help continue the legacy of The 96 in future years.”