Home is where the heart is and that’s certainly true for former England International distance runner Matt Wood.
The 32-year-old former QEGS Blackburn pupil organises sell-out race events at top venues right across the country.
Think the London Olympic Park, Hampton Court Palace, Media City, Tatton Park, Aintree Racecourse – they’re all on his very long list. But, for Matt his newest event is a real labour of love – the Blackburn 10K!
And where better to start and finish than at his favourite football team’s ground – Ewood Park.
The Blackburn 10K will take place on Sunday, November 17 with an additional special kids’ race for under 10s later in the day.
“This is a dream for me,” said Matt who heads up RunThrough Events with business partner and former athletic rival Ben Green.
“To be organising an event where I grew up pounding the streets is just fantastic. It’ll be a great way to bring people together and really showcase Blackburn with Darwen.”
Matt has been working with the Council, Blackburn Rovers and Blackburn Rovers Community Trust to pull the event together.
“It’s the first time that a race will actually start and finish at Ewood Park – making it truly unique for the town. As a Rovers fan, it really doesn’t get better than that. We’re organising more than 140 races a year, but for me this is a special one.”
For Matt, running is in his blood – following in the footsteps of his dad Tony who is the President of the Blackburn Harriers and Athletic Club based at Witton Park.
Matt said: “Running is really part of who I am, and I am never going to be able to change that, nor would I want to, so to finally carve out an opportunity to bring a RunThrough event to my hometown is something special.”
Matt, who grew up in Darwen, competed for England on numerous occasions over the 1500m distance while winning national titles at 800m too. He also went on to be awarded a prestigious scholarship to study at Loughborough University – home to the British Athletics National Performance Institute.
But sadly his professional career was cut short when he suffered a broken femur which resulted in surgery.
“It was devastating at the time as competing at the highest level was all I’d ever dreamt of doing. But organising the events has given me a new outlet enjoy the sport and I don’t want it to end this time.”
Matt has worked closely with the council to help plan a route that really makes the best of what Blackburn has to offer – taking some of the town’s best landmarks and incorporating the town centre – where Blackburn BID are looking forward to welcoming runners at cheers points.”
The 10K route, with a 9:30am start time, will begin at Ewood Park, taking runners along the A666 into Blackburn town centre, near to The Mall and along King William Street and through the Townscape Heritage Area before returning back to Ewood Park.
“I’m hoping the 10K will attract thousands of people – to actually take part and run and also turnout to watch. It’s open to runners of all abilities and there’ll be a great atmosphere as friends and family will be able to gather at the Blackburn End of the stadium.”
Registration costs from £5 to £18 and there are 3,000 places up for grabs.
Entrants will get chipped time results, a unique, themed medal, free official event photos and goodies including fruit and flapjacks.