A JOG through the woods has turned into a fiercely contested battle for kudos and funding between two Northwich football clubs.
Players from Cuddington and Lostock Gralam will go head to head when they take on a new 10K event called Run Marbury on March 9.
Each club will put forward 10 runners to raise as much money as possible for St Luke’s Hospice, and the team with the best average time will win sponsorship for next season from Winsford firm Vaseco.
Lifelong Cuddington player Gareth Harwood started the ball rolling when he signed up for the event and in less than a week it had turned into a contest.
“I just wanted to get fit and wanted to do a 10K, I’m hoping to do five this year,” he said “From me just applying to do a 10k run it’s turned into 20 lads and we want to raise £4,000.
“I Tweeted about it and from there someone else got on to me, and then someone else got involved, someone else said let’s make it a competition between the two teams, a company said they’d sponsor us and Barclays have got involved with match funding.
“And it’s all for a good cause.”
Gareth, who witnessed the good work at St Luke’s Hospice firsthand when his granddad passed away there in 2012, said anything could happen in the contest.
“Lostock will win because they’re playing a higher standard of football but if the Cuddington lads pull their finger out then we will win,” he said.
“We’re going to have to see on the day.”
Ross Speight, manager of Lostock Gralam FC, said: “Hopefully we’ll raise quite a bit of money between the two clubs.
“We’re both quite well supported in the area, we’re big clubs so there should be a lot of interest.
“There’s a lot of banter and stick on Twitter already – it’s a bit of fun, a bit of competition and raising money.”
Rhys Edwards, community and corporate fundraiser for St Luke’s, said: “For us this is amazing and without events like this we wouldn’t be able to offer the support we do.
“A bit of competition raises the game – it’ll help raise a bit more money and create more atmosphere.
“Maybe other clubs will read this and do the same.”
Run Marbury The Run Marbury 10K is the brainchild of Rick Dickens and Lee Kimber.
Rick said: “I’ve run a couple of events myself and was looking for an event in Northwich around this time of year and there was nothing about.
“I thought why not have a go and encourage people in Northwich to get out.
“If it’s successful any money from it will be put back into future events.”
Winnington man Rick also runs boot camp fitness sessions at Hartford Golf Club and was inspired by his runners.
“The girls have progressed so quickly so we thought we’d try to push them,” he said.
“We did the route with them before Christmas and it’s a good route with some lovely views.
“People don’t realise how big it is, they think it’s just Marbury Park.”
Run Marbury takes place on woodland trails, grass and footpaths around Northwich Community Woodlands, including Ashton’s and Neumann’s Flashes and Anderton Nature Park.
It takes place on March 3 will be a warm up at 9.30am and a start time at 10am.
Participants will receive a timing chip for the run and a goody bag with T-shirt and medal at the finish.
Run Marbury supports both Make A Wish and St Luke’s Hospice.
For more information and to register visit runmarbury.co.uk.