Join Rhys Jones’ parents as they prepare to join runners at the Croxteth Park fun run

Croxteth Park will be awash with blue t-shirts on Sunday 27th August 2017 as a brand new family fun-run takes place in memory of school boy Rhys.

The parents of Rhys Jones are throwing their weight behind this new family-friendly event, being staged to celebrate the life of the Liverpool youngster. The inaugural Run For Rhys event takes place in less than two weeks and you’re invited to join in down at Croxteth Hall and Country Park.

Mel and Steve Jones. Image by Paul Francis Cooper/BTR Liverpool

Mel and Steve Jones, who live in Croxteth, are supporting the special day and will join participants on the start line to take part. Run For Rhys is being organised by the team behind the Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC in Croxteth. The centre first opened in August 2013 and has firmly established itself as a community hub. Its main focus is to raise aspirations, give hope and strengthen community unity in Croxteth. The team work tirelessly to raise much-needed funds to develop and continue the centre’s vital work.

Everton fan Rhys was 11-years-old when his life was devastatingly cut short on 22nd August 2007 – just weeks before his 12th birthday. Rhys was shot walking home from football training in Croxteth after innocently being caught in the cross-fire between two rival gangs. The Jones family’s heart-breaking story has recently been portrayed through the ITV drama series, Little Boy Blue, as the 10th anniversary of the youngsters’ tragic death approaches. Now the Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC team are keen to create a new positive legacy event in Rhys’ name.

Run For Rhys participants can choose from three distances covering 1 mile, 3K or 5K – with the first fun run on the day starting at 10am. There is no lower age restriction, therefore opening up the event to everyone and encouraging families to sign up whether they walk, jog or run. Rhys’ parents Mel and Steve are pulling on their running shoes to take part in the Run For Rhys – the 3K distance for Mel, while husband Steve will take on the 5K fun run.

Mel and Steve Jones commented: “Run For Rhys is a positive way to celebrate Rhys’ life and is a fitting legacy in his name – it’s going to be an inspirational day. Rhys was never seen without a football at his feet, he was very sporty and would have been first on the start line.

“The Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC is a vital part of the community. We cannot thank the team enough for their continuing hard work and vision to take the centre forward. Losing a child in such devastating circumstances is something that no-one should ever go through. It’s something we will never get over.

You take one day at a time and learn to cope in different ways. It’s been a long, tiring and difficult 10 years. But throughout the last decade we’ve continued to receive incredible support from the people of Liverpool and beyond. It means the world to us as a family, we really cannot thank people enough. It’s fantastic that people are taking part in the event to support the centre’s work and keep Rhys’ memory alive. Come and join us as we Run For Rhys.”

The management board and directors of the Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC are working with Merseyside’s leading independent race event organiser BTR Liverpool to organise and deliver the fun run day. Run For Rhys will be held in the grounds of Croxteth Country Hall and Park, with the start and finish line area being outside the main hall, with family activities taking place in the grounds.

Everyone taking part in the 1 Mile, 3K or 5K will receive a specially designed technical running T-shirt, which can be collected beforehand so it can be worn for the run. All finishers will also receive a commemorative medal.​ Fun run registration fees pay to stage and deliver all aspects of the event. Participants are encouraged to fundraise for the Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC to support its important work and community initiatives.

Sponsor forms are available, or donations can be made direct to the centre’s Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/run-for-rhys-5k-legacy-event

The 1 mile fun run will start at 10am, followed by the 3K at 11am, with the 5K setting off at midday. Registration is £12 for the 1 mile; £14 for the 3K; and £16 for the 5K. A virtual run option is also available for anyone unable to take part on the day. Full details and online registration can be found at www.btrliverpool.com or follow @BTRLiverpool on Twitter with #RunForRhys5k

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