Liverpool FC Legend Bruce Grobbelaar Launches Run For The 97
This year’s Run For The 97 was officially launched yesterday (Thursday 18 May) by former Liverpool Football Club goalkeeping legend Bruce Grobbelaar.
The ninth annual community legacy fun run takes place in Stanley Park in Liverpool on Saturday 27 May 2023.
Participants are welcome to walk, jog, or run the 5K or 1 Mile distances. Final entries are being taken at https://www.btrliverpool.com/97-5k-event
The event was first staged in 2015 as a positive community legacy event to celebrate and honour the lives of the then 96 Liverpool Football Club fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989.
Last year the event was renamed to Run For The 97 to include and honour LFC fan Andrew Devine, who sadly passed away in July 2021. Andrew received life-changing injuries at Hillsborough, he died 32 years after the disaster.
The event also remembers the families of The 97 and the survivors, who have since tirelessly fought for justice with the utmost dignity.
This year’s Run For The 97 was officially launched at Hotel Tia, a Liverpool FC inspired boutique hotel on Anfield Road, a short walk from Liverpool FC’s home ground Anfield.
The event was hosted by BTR Liverpool – who organise and deliver Run For The 97.
Guests also included former Everton FC player Ian Snodin; Hillsborough family members and justice campaigners Steve Kelly, Margaret Aspinall and Sue Roberts; Liverpool FC stadium announcer, Voice Of Anfield George Sephton; Ragnhild Lund Ansnes, director of Hotel Tia; charity fundraiser Michael Cullen known as Speedomick; and the event’s most senior runner 93-year-old Dennis Adelsberg.
The event’s official charity partners – Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation, LFC Foundation, Everton in the Community, and Stanley Park junior parkrun – were all represented at the launch.
Bruce Grobbelaar officially launched this year’s event, representing fellow former Red defender Jamie Carragher and his 23 Foundation.
The legendary goalkeeper made 628 appearances for The Reds and won 13 major trophies during 13 successful years at the club playing under managers Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, and Kenny Dalglish.
BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell commented, “Run For The 97 is a very poignant and uplifting event – a positive community legacy event to remember The 97, their families, and the survivors. On Saturday 27 May we will once again come together in Stanley Park – red and blue standing side by side – as we walk, jog, or run to remember The 97 in a respectful and fitting way.
“The event provides a platform to raise money in memory of The 97. The funds are split equally between our four official charities to support vital outreach projects and programmes.”
Run For The 97 is supported by Margaret Aspinall, former Chair of the now disbanded Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), who lost her 18-year-old son James at Hillsborough. Margaret has championed the event since it was first launched and has attended each year.
Family member Steve Kelly lost his brother Michael, aged 38. Steve has been involved with RFT97 since the start and has also taken part every year.
Sue Roberts, former HFSG Secretary, lost her 24-year-old brother Graham at Hillsborough. Sue has taken part every year, including the two virtual runs in 2020 and 2021.
Margaret, Steve, and Sue continue the campaign for a Hillsborough Law.
Run For The 97 takes place in Liverpool’s Stanley Park. It is located between Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Stadium and Everton Football Club’s Goodison Park – providing the perfect backdrop for the event which brings together the red and blue sides of the city.
The event has been held each year since 2015, including during the Covid pandemic when virtual runs were organised in 2020 and 2021.
Last year saw the event return to Stanley Park. Virtual entries have continued, allowing national and overseas football fans to continue to support the event.
Run For The 97 provides a platform for participants – either taking part in person or virtually – to fundraise or make a one-off charity donation.
Since 2015, the event has helped to raise more than £40,000 for good causes in the city.
The event’s official charities for 2023 are Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation, LFC Foundation, Everton in the Community, and Stanley Park junior parkrun. Together, they support the vision of creating a legacy event to honour The 97 while ensuring local communities benefit through their work.
Monies raised will be split equally between the four charities to support vital community outreach programmes. More than £1,300 has already been raised though this year’s event.
The official Just Giving online donation page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/RunForThe972023
Matt Parish, Chief Executive of the LFC Foundation, said, “It’s our ninth year supporting this special event, which brings the community together to remember he 97 and raise important funds for local charities. I’d like to thank everyone involved in this year’s event – from the supporters to volunteers and runners, who will help to make it a success.”
Michael Salla, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Everton in the Community, commented, “Run For The 97 is always an important date in our calendar and gives us chance to remember those lost whilst bringing the community together to raise vital funds for charities in our city. It promises to be another great event this year and on behalf of Everton in the Community, I’d like to thank everyone for taking part – both virtually and in-person – for their valued contribution and ongoing support.”
Josephine Gibson from Stanley Park junior parkrun, added, “Since our first event back in 2016, nearly 1,200 young people have run or walked the 2km junior parkrun course in beautiful Stanley Park covering over 19,000km between them. They are supported by a fantastic team of local volunteers, providing a free weekly opportunity for fitness, fun, and friendship. Our junior parkruns are within sight of both Anfield and Goodison Park. We are honoured to be one of the nominated charities for the Run For The 97.”
Lifelong runner and Liverpool FC fan, 93-year-old Dennis Adelsberg from Lathom, near Ormskirk, was invited to be part of the launch by BTR Liverpool.
Dennis took part in Run For The 97 for the first time in 2022, forging a friendship with Speedomick when they ran together completing the 5K course. Dennis is this year’s most senior runner – and the pair were reunited at the launch. They will run together again in the 5K event.
Dennis keeps himself busy with many hobbies including gardening, model collecting, and running for Skelmersdale Boundary Harriers – a running club he helped to form in 1983 when two other running clubs were amalgamated. He is Club President.
Dennis had the honour of carrying the London 2012 Olympic Flame. He has four children, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Dennis Adelsberg commented, “Running is in my blood. My father was a keen marathon runner in Liverpool in the 1950s, when the race started at St George’s Hall and finished at Anfield Stadium. I did Run For The 97 for the first time last year and it was fabulous, running with Speedomick made me famous. We’ve become friends, he’s my idol. I’d encourage people to take part, it’s such a wonderful day.”
BTR Liverpool organise and deliver Run For The 97. BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing, and delivering headline running events across Liverpool City Region including the BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon, BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K, and BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.
The Run For The 97 entry fee pays to stage and deliver all aspects of the event including run numbers, T-shirts and medals, virtual entries, as well as event day staging and facilities.
To find out more about Run For The 97 visit www.btrliverpool.com
Image: Bruce Grobbelaar officially launched this year’s event.
Credit for all images: Paul Francis Cooper
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