Soldier and footballer join together for 2010k

Grenadier Guard Luke Davis and Port Vale footballer Gareth Owen will be united by a common cause when they take part in the 2010k race this weekend.

Luke, 22, was wounded in Afghanistan earlier this year and is running to raise money for the Colonel’s Fund, which supports the families of Grenadier Guards killed in action and injured soldiers.

Gareth’s brother is currently serving abroad with the Royal Engineers, and has seen service in Iraq and Bosnia. The Port Vale defender will be running to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity, and has already raised over £200.

Both will be having one of their final training sessions for the event at Northwood Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent tomorrow as they prepare for the race.

Luke, from Etruria, is also running in memory of his friend and comrade Lance Sergeant Dave Greenhalgh, who was killed in the same explosion that seriously injured him. Speaking earlier this week, Luke said: “Running the 2010k will be a great way to help me with my fitness regime, but more importantly, it will help me raise some cash for the Colonel’s Fund.”

Luke’s jaw was shattered in the explosion that hit is jackal armoured car, and spent a week in hospital while surgeons rebuilt his jaw. He still needs further dental work done, but plans to return to his unit soon.

Gareth has played for both Stoke City and Port Vale and wants to do his bit to help raise money for Help for Heroes. He added: “My brother is currently an acting serviceman and fortunately he hasn’t needed to use the Help for Heroes charity but so many servicemen and women have.

They are the bravest people I have ever met, and I want to do something, however small to help. I’m really proud to be representing the club and the city in the 2010k. Being born in Staffordshire and playing for both clubs, you get a real affinity for the area, and it’s great to be able to show that you live and work in such a great city.”

A major event in the city’s Festival of Sport, the 2010k is one of several mass participation events to celebrate the centenary of the city’s federation status. The race will be open to everyone, and will also feature a 2k fun run.

The route will start and finish in Stoke Town Centre, will travel around the town before moving up through Shelton, the city centre, and Hanley Park before coming back to Stoke.

The event is being sponsored by Staffordshire University and sports shoe company Brooks Running.

All entrants will get a free t-shirt and there will also be prizes awarded to the first five male and female finishers

Port Vale Star To Champion 2010k

Port Vale defender Gareth Owen will be leading the line for the 2010k, the 10k run celebrating the centenary of the federation of Stoke-on-Trent.

Gareth will be officially lending his support to the event at Vale Park on Tuesday 27 April, and if Vale don’t make it to the League Two play off final, will join “running paramedic” Ray Edensor in taking part in the event, taking place on Sunday 30 May.

Gareth, 27, was born in North Staffordshire and is one of only a handful of players in the modern era to have played for both Potteries football clubs. He made 5 senior appearances for Stoke City between 2001 and 2005, and has made over 50 appearances for Port Vale since signing for them in January 2009. He has also represented Wales at Under 19 level.

Gareth said:

“I’m really proud to be representing the club and the city in the 2010k. Being born in Staffordshire and playing for both clubs, you get a real affinity for the area, and it’s great to be able to show that you live and work in such a great city.

“You have to keep fit as a footballer so I’m looking forward to taking part in the run if I get the chance to take part, and I’d encourage Stoke fans and Vale fans to join in so we can show that sport brings people together, regardless of which team they support.”

A major event in the city’s Festival of Sport, the 2010k is one of several mass participation events to celebrate the centenary of the city’s federation status. The race will be open to everyone, and will also feature a 2k fun run.

The route will start and finish in Stoke Town Centre, will travel around the town before moving up through Shelton, the city centre, and Hanley Park before coming back to Stoke.

The event is being sponsored by Staffordshire University and sports shoe company Brooks Running.

All entrants will get a free t-shirt and there will also be prizes awarded to the first five male and female finishers.

To enter the 10k run costs £10 or £8 is you belong to a running club, and the fun run costs just £2 to enter. Entries on the day will be subject to a £1 admin charge.

Mark Roberts, seven times winner of the Potteries Marathon and part of the team organising the 2010k at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, added:

“Gareth is an accomplished athlete and we’re really proud to have him on board. It’s rare that a footballer plays for both clubs in one city these days, even rarer for that person to be a local. In that respect, we’re really honoured to have Gareth involved.”