Close to 700 runners gathered together in Croxteth Park on Sunday (27 August) to take part in an emotional tribute to Rhys Jones. The Run For Rhys 5K, coordinated with the support of race organiser BTR Liverpool, was staged just days after the tenth anniversary of Rhys’ tragic death and saw the park awash with a sea of blue with everyone wearing the specially designed Run For Rhys T-shirts.
At just 11 years old, Rhys’ life was devastatingly cut short. Walking home after football training in Croxteth, he was shot after being caught in the cross-fire between two rival gangs. The story has been in the spotlight recently through the ITV drama series Little Boy Blue.
The event was organised as both a celebration of Rhys’ life and as a fundraiser for the Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC in Croxteth. The centre, opened in August 2013, aims to raise aspirations, give hope and strengthen community unity in Croxteth.
Cheered on by Everton legends Joe Royle and Ian Snodin on the start line the runners were rewarded with specially-commissioned medals at the completion of the run. Rhys' parents Mel and Steve were also in attendance with Mel taking on the shorter 3k run and Steve tackling the 5k route.
Speaking just prior to the start of the run, Rhys’ father, Steve, said: “It’s fantastic for an inaugural event. We want to try and do an annual event as well because it raises money for the centre and the work it does. Rhys would have absolutely loved something like this today."