THE founder of an informal running group in East Lancashire has been honoured after helping more than 1,200 runners.
Rick Wilson, 46, of Revidge, set up 5k Group Run last summer after he realised there were no organisations to help those trying to get fit through running.
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Mr Wilson, who weighed nearly 20st a year ago, now sees 120 people regularly turning out to sessions in Blackburn’s Witton Park.
He has now been given a British Citizen Award in London for his inspiration, enthusiasm and hard work. At a ceremony in Westminster, he was presented with a medal for service to healthcare. He was one of 28 people whose selfless and vital work was celebrated.
Last week he was also awarded the Unsung Hero Award in the Lancashire Telegraph’s Grassroots Heroes Awards.
Mr Wilson said: “It was a wonderful honour to be selected to receive a British Citizen Award. I did wonder why I was there (the ceremony). After all, I had only set up a running group.
“But to be acknowledged in this way is a privilege and if it can raise the profile of what we are doing and if it can show Blackburn in a positive light, then that can only be a good thing.”
A spokesman for the British Citizen Awards said: “Rick has inspired more than 1,200 people to leave the comfort of their sofas and start running to improve their health and fitness. He now has more than 1,000 people able to run 5km non-stop.”
Participants include three generations of one family, and people from various cultures and all age ranges, and varying levels of fitness.
The group has also been supported by Blackburn Road Runners.
See www.facebook.com/5kgrouprun for more details.