Liam’s Great Manchester Run Challenge

Report: Jane O'Hara -

Club coach Maureen Wilkins is supporting Liam Wheatley, a young deaf autistic man with learning difficulties, as he takes on the challenge of the 10k Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday 16 May.

Liam is running to raise money for The Seashell Trust, a local charity which offers education, support and care to children, young people and adults who have a range of learning difficulties and disabilities. Maureen works for the trust as transitions coordinator, and together with teacher Peter Bradbury has been supporting Liam with his training. Maureen and Peter will also run alongside Liam to support him on race day.

Liam’s class began visiting Woodbank Athletics Stadium last year, and Liam amazed everyone with how well he ran. “Liam has made tremendous progress with his training,” says Maureen. “Peter and I have been pounding the streets of Cheadle with him and training hard. He has improved so much and got his 5k time down from 29 minutes to 22 minutes. Liam has also asked members of his family to go out for a run with him, which has been a great success.”

“Liam clearly loves to run,” adds Peter. “We make sure he has plenty of opportunities to do this in his education plan. We now run and train daily before school and running has become an important part of Liam's life. Since running regularly, Liam's confidence and self esteem levels have shot up and this has helped improve other aspects of his life, particularly his communication and independence. We're all looking forward to the race and Liam crossing the finish line is going to be such a proud moment for him. He's worked so hard for this!”

“Running makes me happy,” says Liam. “It will be fantastic to run with so many people at the Great Manchester Run.”

“Liam is a great inspiration to all of us,” says Maureen. “As a coach, I would like to ask all you great Stockport athletes to be kind enough to sponsor Liam in his first Great Manchester Run. If any of you are watching the race next Sunday, please give us your support and encouragement. This is a huge challenge for Liam and we have no doubt that he will accomplish this massive goal.”

“Please support Liam in this race as much as you can,” adds Peter. “The Seashell Trust is a fantastic place for students like Liam to learn and your donation will help Liam, and students like him, fulfil their potential and achieve amazing things.”

To sponsor Liam, please visit

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