A fantastic field of around 2,000 runners ensured that the inaugural Blackburn 10k was a race to remember!
Starting and finishing inside Ewood Park - taking in several of the town's major landmarks along the way - the resoundingly positive reaction to Blackburn Rovers Community Trust's first road race in partnership with RunThrough Events means that it's looking more than likely that this is a contest that will become a regular feature on the domestic racing calendar.
Attracting an eclectic field of elite individual runners, local race teams and a whole host of fun runners who were attracted to the event thanks to the unique stadium setting, the Blackburn 10k caught the eye thanks to the well-rounded package of a challenging course and some fine facilities for runners and spectators alike.
Jack's Fanzone at Ewood Park was transformed into the runners village, which included stalls from a variety of sponsors and partners (including the event's headline sponsor WEC Group), as well as providing the home for a unique warm up that saw all the runners pack in to the open space and go through some last minute preparations before heading to the start line.
The Blackburn End was full of friends and family who could get close to the runners to cheer them on before their run and after they finished.
The race finish was beamed live from the screens around the ground and within Blues, which offered a refreshments service throughout the morning.
The race was won by elite athlete Mohammed Abu Rezeq and it was great to see so much local support for the event, with the top 20 finishers packed full of Blackburn Harriers & AC athletes, while Blackburn Road Runners had over 100 runners finish the race.
Every single runner that completed the course was handed a unique Blackburn 10k medal, many of which were handed out by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen who stayed from start to finish of the event, as well as a recovery goody bag including Actiph water, Pop Chips and Pic's Peanut Butter with each runner recording their own unique finishing time.
The course was then opened up to the next generation as juniors got their opportunity to run a shorter 1k route and got their own moment in the headlines. Reflecting on the Community Trust's first involvement in an organised race, events and fundraising officer Jess Clegg explained: "It required a huge team effort to pull off such a major event and ensure that it ran so successfully at the first attempt, so we're all hugely grateful to the many partners, sponsors and of course the runners who made this such an amazing morning.
"We couldn't have asked for more from RunThrough Events in supplying such fantastic expertise to the event, and the likes of Blackburn with Darwen Council for their logistical support and WEC Group for their financial backing have made this memorable feat possible for thousands of people.
"We've had some great feedback on the course and a lot of interest in a repeat race, so we're really excited about trying to make it a firm event in the racing calendar.
"Crucially for our charity, we believe that we'll have brought in up to around £20,000 in additional funding thanks to sponsorship, race contributions and event day trading, so we'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped to fund a variety of locally-based charity projects in their own ways."
RunThrough Events co-founder Matt Wood said: “We organise running events all around the UK in some of the most iconic venues and it has been so refreshing to see how the town of Blackburn has responded to the event.
"With just a vision of how the event should look, you need forward thinking and passionate people to make an event like this come to life.
"Special mentions must go to Jess Clegg, all the staff at the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and Blackburn Rovers FC who without their support this event would have never happened.
"Also the enthusiasm of Graham Harris, Andrea Sturgess and everyone at Blackburn with Darwen Council who backed the event from the start and gave us the support to do what we do best at RunThrough.
"Being born and schooled in Blackburn and a huge Blackburn Rovers fan, this truly was one of the proudest moments of my life. I can’t wait for next year!”
The event wouldn't have been possible without the dedication of some fantastic local organisations. Volunteers and staff from RunThrough Events, Blackburn Road Runners, Blackburn Harriers & AC, Pierce PA Accountants, Blackburn Cadets, Blackburn's Couch to 5k, the students of the Blackburn Rovers Sports College and volunteers from the Trust's NCS Youth Board all worked together to make the event run to a success.
The event was also backed by headline sponsors WEC Group, who were delighted to be involved in some local history.
There was further backing for the first ever Blackburn 10k event partners Westholme School, Training 2000, Together Housing and CBD Oil London, who all had banners at various 1k points in front of famous Blackburn landmarks.