A 'VIRTUAL' fun run in memory of the 96 football fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough is taking place today - featuring 1,600 participants across the world.

The event, now its sixth year, celebrate the lives of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster on April 15 1989. It also strives to remember their families and survivors, who have tirelessly fought for justice with the utmost dignity.

Today's run event was scheduled to take place today in Liverpool’s Stanley Park – a fitting backdrop between the home grounds of Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Stadium and Everton Football Club's Goodison Park.

There is no public event this year due to social distancing measures imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the 1,600 runners worldwide will pull on their trainers to run, jog or walk the 5K distance to remember The 96.

A number of loyal Run For The 96 supporters who have taken part in previous events will be taking part, including Liverpool Football Club Chief Executive Peter Moore, former Liverpool FC players Jamie Carragher and Alan Kennedy, and Big Brother winner Craig Phillips.

Representatives from a number of Hillsborough families; the LFC Foundation; Everton in the Community; and Stanley Park CIC will also be running virtually.

Run For The 96 continues to have the support of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Official beneficiaries for 2020 are the LFC Foundation; Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation; Everton in the Community; and Stanley Park Liverpool CIC. Together, they support the vision of creating a legacy event to honour The 96 while ensuring local communities benefit. BTR Liverpool organise and deliver the event.

Participants are encouraged to generate sponsorship or donations through this year’s official fundraising page which can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/runforthe962020

All money raised through the dedicated Just Giving charity page will be split equally between the four named beneficiaries to enable them to continue vital outreach services in their communities.

Members of the public are also invited to make a one-off donation to support the charities.

Anyone making a donation through the official giving page will be entered into a draw to win a Jamie Carragher Liverpool FC shirt signed by the former player. Donations made before midday on May 31 are eligible for the draw.

Virtual run entries have been received from across the world, with both runners and football fans keen to show their support.

Runners from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and America.

As well as runners from across Liverpool and home soil of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle Of Man, and Jersey.

Virtual runners have been sent their race number and medal. They have been asked to run in football club colours and send organisers BTR a selfie so they can be included in an online virtual gallery.

Pictures should be sent to alan@btrliverpool.com

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented: "We've had an incredible response for turning this year’s Run For The 96 into a virtual event – therefore still giving people the opportunity to run to remember The 96 wherever they are in the world.

"It’s genuinely overwhelming that given these strange times and the pressures we are all facing, that so many people across the world are taking the time this weekend to honour and celebrate the lives of The 96.

"We are already receiving photos from far and wide and creating a virtual gallery on the BTR website to showcase the superb global support.

"The world is well represented.

"We are all of one mind and will beat with one heart this Saturday, we will always remember.”