Even though organisers were forced to make the tough decision to cancel the half marathon event due to heavy snowfall, runners competing in Sunday’s (18 March) Run Wigan 5K and accompanying Family Mile were in high spirits as they braved the cold weather to cross the finish line and claim their medal (and free pie) at the finish line.
Despite the best efforts of the Run Wigan team to clear the roads at Haigh, the strong winds kept blowing snow back on to the gritted paths. With winds forecast for the remainder of the day, organisers were unable to predict how the low lying snow across the 350 acres of the park would affect the half marathon route and made the call to cancel the race.
All of the half marathon runners were given the chance to compete in the 5k event, which drew in an impressive field of 1241 runners. The race saw Salford’s Chris Livesey claim first in 15:49 with Thomas Griffiths (16:00) and Andrew Miles in second and third respectively. Liverpool Pembroke’s Helen Sahgal (18:49) was the convincing winner in the women’s field, with Amy Corfield (20:00) and Alice Alcock (20:14) her closest competitors.
A recent release from race organisers announced that although they had looked at the option of rescheduling, it wasn’t looking like a feasible option. It reads: “There is an incredible amount of work and costs which go into staging these events. A 13.1 mile race covers a huge section of our town and the undertaking by our event partners, the traffic management team, the council’s highway team, the stewards, the volunteers and our organising charity is enormous.
“We have explored the possibility of staging the event on an alternative date but as an event organised by a charity we simply cannot incur the costs. We are so disappointed, no one more so than our official race starter Jack. We have therefore taken the decision not to reschedule but to concentrate our energies on making the 2019 Run Wigan festival bigger and better than ever.”
Registered runners have been offered two options: to complete the route virtually and receive a finishers’ medal and T-shirt posted to their home address, or a full refund. Organisers are appealing that the second option is taken only as a last resort – the event was created to raise as much money as possible for the Joining Jack charity.