Football allegiances were set aside on Sunday (22 May) as almost 2,000 runners turned out for the second edition of Run For The 96 5K. The community legacy fun run has been organised in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who were unlawfully killed in the Hillsborough tragedy.
Hillsborough Family Support Group chair Margaret Aspinall was applauded as she took to the stage to welcome the runners to Stanley Park and, on behalf of the families, thank the crowd for taking part.
Participants and spectators were treated to a couple of big surprises on the day with former LiverpoolFC manager Rafa Benitez making an appearance, while a plane flew over Stanley Park with the banner ALWAYS REMEMBER 15.04.89 to the sound of football club anthems You’ll Never Walk Alone and Z Cars.
This was followed by a minute’s applause for The 96. The crowd set off on their 5k fun run to the sound of The Justice Collective’s cover of The Hollies’ classic He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – the song which unites Liverpool and Everton and shows the solidarity of the red and blue sides of the city.
Run For The 96 5K is the brainchild of Liverpool fan Dom Williams, who has organised the mammoth three-day Hillsborough-Anfield 96-mile team running challenge for the past three years. Dom developed the idea of the event with race organisers BTR Liverpool to create a new 5k community legacy fun run as a way of engaging the wider community to run to remember The 96.
Participants were invited to fundraise for the Liverpool FC Foundation and Everton in the Community, the charitable arms of the city’s two football clubs to enable them to continue their fantastic work across Merseyside.
Reflecting on the race, Margaret Aspinall said: “This brings the whole community together and it is such a lovely tribute to The 96, what a legacy. Everyone in Liverpool deserves credit in our fight for justice. It’s such a special place and I am so proud of my city.”