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Monday, 22 December 2014

Walney Family Fun Run 2013

HUNDREDS of runners battled blustery conditions to complete a popular community fun run.

From tots being pushed in prams, to veteran athletes, people of all ages and abilities got involved in the Evening Mail’s Energy for Life – Walney Family Fun Run yesterday.

This year saw the welcome introduction of a one-mile event for young people with disabilities which opened the day’s runs along the Biggar Bank coastal route.

Fellow runners and spectators cheered the competitors on as Barrow mayor, Councillor Colin Thomson, sounded the klaxon to start the race, which was followed by the 5km and 10km events.

Barrow’s 1,500m Paralympic hero Dean Miller was special guest at the start and congratulated runners at the finish.

The athlete was delighted to see the disability race taking centre stage. He was very impressed to see seven-year-old Jacob Brownson make it home in seven minutes and 30 seconds.

Mr Miller said: “Jacob’s mum said he is more of a sprinter, so if distance running is his second event he’s got a future in athletics!

“There’s a great turnout in all the races. It’s amazing to see so many people out here doing what I love to do. It’s a brilliant event.”

A poll by disability charity, Scope, said 81 per cent of disabled people questioned said attitudes towards people with disabilities have not improved since the Paralympics.

Mr Miller said: “I think that events like this do show there has definitely been a shift and disability is being accepted.”

Deborah Brownson, 38, the mum of Jacob, who has autism, said: “He’s a natural runner, but he doesn’t usually get to join in runs because he doesn’t like crowds of people. It’s great that they have a disability event at the start so children like Jacob can take part. This was perfect for him.”

Jacob is the son of Gareth Brownson, the leader of GB Bootcampers, and he is a Junior Bootcamper.

GB Bootcampers had a great day, also winning the 10km and 5km team event. The members cheered every member home from the sidelines. Mr Brownson, 34, of Ireleth, who is also a firefighter, said: “I’m very proud of every one of them.

“Everything we do is as a team, everyone supports each other.

“I’d like to thank Ian Jones for introducing the disability event, it is great for sports inclusion, so everyone can take part.”

The Walney Wind Cheetahs and Cheetah Cubs were in fine form supporting each other along the way, just as they have in training twice a week.

The cubs, a group of teenage girls with a new love for running, all received awards and free gym passes for The Park Leisure Centre.

In the 5km event the first boy home was Jonty Dacre, 14, in 21.34 in the same time as his friend James Gallagher, 15. In the 10km the first man back was Hoad Hill Harriers’ David Fulford, of Haverigg, in 36.39.

Run organisers Ian Jones from Walney Wind Cheetahs and Frank Stretton, commercial director at the North-West Evening Mail, thanked all the runners, organisers and helpers.

Mr Stretton said: “The event has really shown the community spirit, it has been absolutely fantastic.”

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