Almost 2,200 participants pulled on their running shoes yesterday (Sunday, 14 April) to complete the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K – and a new female course record was set.

The race is one of the most unique in the sporting calendar, during which runners make their way under the River Mersey and through the Kingsway Tunnel.

The Mersey Tunnel 10K returned to the North West race calendar in 2006 at the request of the Mersey Tunnels with BTR Liverpool taking on the mantle.

The 14th annual point-to-point race, which sold out for 2019, started in Liverpool city centre and finished at Marine Point in New Brighton.

The route took runners from the start line in Blackstock Street, through the Kingsway Tunnel, along Seacombe Promenade, past Fort Perch Rock and the Marine Lake, to the finish line on Ian Fraser Walk at New Brighton.

The race was won by Joseph Boden from Wallasey AC in a time of 32 minutes 18 seconds.

Second place male was Leon Foster from Leeds City Athletic Club in 34 minutes 4 seconds. Dan Morgan took third place male in 34 minutes 12 seconds.

The male record still stands at 30 minutes 52 seconds, recorded by Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers AC in 2016.

First place female was Kirsty Longley representing Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers in 36 minutes 19 seconds.

After already setting a new course record of 36 minutes 49 seconds in 2017, Kirsty this year broke her own record by knocking 30 seconds of her previous record time.

Female second place was Helen Sahgal, also from Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers, in 38 minutes 25 seconds. Helen won last year’s race, but this year recorded a faster time by taking seven seconds off her 2018 time. Jenny Carter from Team Bath Athletics Club took third place female in 39 minutes 52 seconds.

The day’s most senior runners included five participants ranging in age from 72-years-old and 91-years-old:

  • Eddie Naisby, from Ruthin in Wales – who celebrated his 91st birthday on 1 April and runs for Prestatyn Running Club (1 hour 21 minutes 14 seconds);
  • Ronald Thornton, aged 78 from Crosby, running for Liverpool Running Bugs (1 hour 11 minutes 29 seconds);
  • Anita Mears, aged 74 from Speke (1 hour 57 minutes 52 seconds);
  • Margaret Ellams, aged 72 from Aughton (1 hour 7 minutes 57 seconds).

The race attracted runners from the Isle of Man, Ireland, Germany, and the United States of America.

The race was a real highlight of a trip to Liverpool for American brothers Steve Hailer, aged 69 from Ohio, and 71-year-old Phil from Massachusetts.

They travelled to Liverpool especially to take part in the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K. Steve recorded a time of 1 hour 21 minutes 12 seconds, while Phil finished in 1 hour 9 minutes 58 seconds.

Steve Hailer explained:

 

“Being such big Beatles fans, we were thrilled to visit Liverpool and combine it with our love of running. As we headed to the finish line we enjoyed the incredible views of Liverpool across the River Mersey. What a fantastic, wonderful running experience. A first class and unique event – well done BTR Liverpool. We even managed to fit in visits to The Beatles Story and Cavern Club. It was a very special trip all round. Thank you Liverpool.”

Participants included a team of eight from 107 Field Squadron Royal Engineers from Birkenhead who will be taking part in full military kit.

A team of 30 runners represented charity HistioUK. Youngster Jack Daley is being treated for the second time for rare autoimmune cancer Langerhans Cells Histiocytosis. So far Jack’s parents Rachel and Lee Daley, family and friends have raised £43,000 for research into the condition.

Nick and Cara Bartlett from Knowsley Harriers completed their challenge of 13 half marathons in 13 weeks for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. They set off early to run seven miles before the race, later crossing the 10K finish line to complete their overall challenge.

A team of 15 runners took part raising funds and awareness for North West Cancer Research.

Running clubs from across the North West were well represented, with the largest groups represented by BTR Road Runners, Kirkby Milers, Liverpool Running Club, Penny Lane Striders, and Wallasey AC.

The race is organised and delivered by Hoylake-based race organisers BTR Liverpool, the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region. The BTR event portfolio also includes the 52-mile BTR Tour Of Merseyside, BTR Liverpool Santa Dash, BTR Wirral Half Marathon and 10K; and BTR Port Sunlight 10K and 5K.

 

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:

 

“The BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K is a real highlight of the race calendar given the rare and unique opportunity to run through the Kingsway Tunnel and under the River Mersey. The atmosphere through the tunnel is really fantastic. Seeing people’s big smiles as they head towards the finish line is infectious, well done to everyone who took part.

“Congratulations to Kirsty Longley, who broke her own record to set a new female time for the course. And a big thank you to the volunteer teams from BTR Road Runners; Claire House Children’s Hospice; Everton in the Community; Goodgym Liverpool; Liverpool Running Bugs; North West Cancer Research; and Graham Knowles with Origins Sports Massage – your support is greatly appreciated and make a big difference to the event.”

The BTR race portfolio also includes the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon, which has been shortlisted in the Small Event of the Year category in the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards 2019. The race – which celebrated its 26th consecutive year in March – is the only sporting event represented across all 17 categories. The winners will be announced on 16 May at a black tie awards ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral.

Next up in the BTR race calendar are the Run For The 96 5K and 1 Mile at Stanley Park on Saturday 11 May, and Port Sunlight 5K, 10K and 1K Fun Run on Sunday 16 June.

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