It is almost 40 years since the first ever JCB Lakeside Five and Fun Run was staged – and now it is back after a two-year pause due to Covid on Thursday, July 14.
Firing the starting pistol for the two races will be JCB-sponsored athlete Ben Williams who is preparing to compete in the triple jump event as part of the England athletics squad at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August.
Over the four decades the races have been staged, they have raised thousands of pounds for JCB’s nominated charity, the NSPCC, for its work in Staffordshire. And as the organisers prepare for the 37th annual running of the event, one thing remains unchanged – two runners who have competed in every race since it began will again be on the starting line.
Stalwarts Charles Bevan, aged 75, of Abbots Bromley, one of the event’s founders, and Mick Grindey, 60, of Uttoxeter – both former JCB employees – took part in the first event in 1983.
Organiser Mick Grindey said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Lakeside Five and Fun Run races are back with a vengeance and it’s great to welcome Ben Williams to the event as he prepares for the Commonwealth Games. The event has always been very popular, and we are looking forward to welcoming competitors old and new.”
Ben, 30, said: “It’s great to be part of an event which has been such a firm fixture in the local sporting calendar for so long.”
The 2.2-mile fun run takes place around the JCB grounds and country lanes at 7pm. The undulating five-mile JCB Lakeside Five takes in the glorious JCB grounds around the World HQ at Rocester before heading on to the local village roads and finishing on the JCB sports fields.
It also starts at 7pm. To register for this year’s events, visit www.avtiming.com/jcb5