The first Run Wigan Festival made for a memorable day out with over 4,000 runners competing across the half marathon, 5k and family run events on Sunday (19 March). Launched on the back of the popular Wigan 10K, the festival, organised by Wigan-based charity Joining Jack, looks like it will be even more successful with event director Matt Johnson later proclaiming “Bring on 2018!”.
All three races started and finished at the bottom of Market Street and took in a series of popular landmarks throughout the town. While runners faced some rain and strong winds over the duration of the day, they were able to commence the races without having to face any downpour.
The half marathon, which drew in an impressive field of over 1800 competitors, saw Barlick Fell Runners’ Ian Livesey claim the first ever title in 1:12:19, with James Kevan (1:13:37) and Gary Shaw (1:16:40) following. Lucy Niemz secured bragging rights in the female competition with a winning time of 1:25:01, finishing ahead of Catherine Odwyer (1:26:33) and Alison Moore (1:30:15).
Judging by the times posted on Sunday, the 5k might well become known as one for the PB hunters with a series of fast times recorded. Chris Livesey took first in 15:27 with Nicholas Hicketts (16:11) and Tim Hartley (16:12) battling it out for the podium places. Kirsty Longley was the first female to cross the line in 17:30.
Reflecting on the first ever Wigan Festival, race organiser Matt Johnson said: “What an absolutely fabulous day. We had more than 4,000 runners on the day with over 2,000 in the half marathon, 1,200 in the 5k and an incredible 700 runners, plus mums, dads, aunties and uncles in the Family Run.
“This was our first Run Wigan Festival but it won’t be our last – we can’t wait to so it all over again next year. Thank you to everyone who helped put the whole event together, from our sponsors and race partners to our incredible army of volunteers and of course our runners.”
Registration for the 2018 Run Wigan Festival is scheduled to open later this week.