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