RECORD numbers will take part in the GPW Recruitment St Helens 10k on Sunday on what will be the first race without its founder Steve Prescott.
Entries reached the 1,800 limit weeks ago and if all run on the day it will be 600 more than the number who took up the challenge last year.
Among the runners will be Afghanistan veteran Andy Reid using special blades.
He will line up alongside former Saints captains Chris Joynt and Paul Sculthorpe as well as world boxing middleweight contender Martin Murray and Steve’s brother Neil. Other SPF ambassadors Barrie McDermott, Shaun Briscoe, Terry O’Connor – all former players – and George Riley, the BBC Radio 5 Live broadcaster.
Andy, a triple amputee said: “Hopefully I’ll be able to do the full 10k but the minimum will be 6k. I’ve been training hard but it’s difficult because of the time of year. It’s been hard to go outside because it’s been so wet.
“But the indoor training has been going really well.”
Andy, who has taken part in previous 10ks, will be trying out new blades made by a specialist manufacturer in Preston.
He added: “These allow you to stand still. The ones I had last time had no heel on them so you had to keep moving. I was bouncing from side to side so I couldn’t save any energy.”
He said the first 10k without the formidable presence of Steve Prescott would be emotional.
“I expect it to be sombre at the start. Last year there was a sense of excitement with people ready to get going.
“But this year people will reflect as to why they are doing it, which is to help support the foundation. Steve wouldn’t have wanted it to be a sad day. It should be exciting because that’s what he was about. We all want to do something to reflect on what he achieved.”
Andy appreciates many will look to him for inspiration, which is why he said it’s important to complete the 10k. Andy, who will run the 2k circuit five times, said: “I will start at the back so everyone will be able to see my progress. If they are having a go and hit a bit of a wall maybe they will think if Andy’s cracking it maybe I will too.”
Stephen Palfrey, owner of Ruskin Health and Fitness Centre which supports the event, is offering a day’s membership to everyone that takes part.