Hillsborough 96: 2,000 runners in second memorial race

Runners shake the hand of Margaret Aspinall Image copyright BTR Liverpool
Image caption Runners shook the hand of Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall at the start of the race

Hillsborough activist Margaret Aspinall cheered on 2,000 competitors who took part in the Run for the 96 race in memory of the victims of the disaster.

The 5km event, which started in Liverpool's Stanley Park, was held in memory of the 96 football fans killed in a crush at an FA Cup match in 1989.

Mrs Aspinall, whose son James died in the tragedy, shook hands with runners as they started the race.

Ex-Liverpool player Alan Kennedy ran and former boss Rafael Benitez watched.

The event raised funds for the charities Liverpool FC Foundation and Everton in the Community.

Mrs Aspinall said of the memorial race: "It is brilliant. It shows the spirit of the people of Merseyside and it raises funds for two great causes which go back into the community.

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Media captionReds and blues united for the run

"What a tribute to the 96 this is."

Benitez - who managed Liverpool between 2004 and 2010 and is now in charge at Newcastle United - said he was not running because he only knew at the last minute that he would be able to go but he was supporting his wife and daughter who were racing.

He said: "It is a great legacy for the future to remember [the 96] in this way."

The 96 fans were killed in a crush at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989.

Among those taking part in Sunday's race were Steve Rotheram, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, Everton fans' favourite Speedo Mick and Invictus gold medallist Andy Grant.

Former Everton player Pat Van Den Hauwe also turned out to support the second annual race.

Image copyright BTR Liverpool
Image caption Two thousand runners competed in the race

You'll Never Walk Alone and Z Cars - the anthems of Liverpool and Everton respectively - were played out during the warm-up for the race.

The race then started after a plane flew past the park with the message "Always Remember 15.04.89" and a minute's applause.

In April, jurors at the two-year inquests into the disaster concluded the 96 fans were unlawfully killed.

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