Flower Power was out in force at Port Sunlight on Sunday (17 June) as runners descended on the picturesque village for its seventh annual race festival.

A field of 1,750 runners geared up to take part in the Port Sunlight Road Race 5K and 10K events.

The 5K race and two-lap 10K took runners on a route taking in the tree-lined boulevards of Port Sunlight. Both races sold out.

The race day coincided with Father’s Day. Almost 300 youngsters took part in their very own 1K Fun Run, giving the day a real family atmosphere.

The Port Sunlight Road Race is organised and delivered by BTR Liverpool, in conjunction with Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT). Unilever was headline sponsor for a fifth consecutive year.

The day’s official proceedings were overseen by Maggie Sparks, Honorary President of Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT), and Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight. Both were on hand to officially start the 5K and 10K and present trophies. Cameron also took part in the
5K race.

This year’s event embraced a new Flower Power theme which was in full bloom for 2018, including the day’s musical soundtrack, race numbers, medal ribbons, groovy green 5K T-shirts, and sunshine yellow 10K T-shirts.

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST SAMANTHA QUEK, FROM WIRRAL, SURPRISED 5K RUNNERS BY TAKING PART DRESSED AS A GREEN LOGO BRICK TO RAISE AWARENESS AND FUNDS FOR CLATTERBRIDGE CANCER CENTRE.

The 5K was won by Rob Pearse from Wallasey AC in 16 minutes 27 seconds. Second position male was Ben Lewington from Kirkby Milers in 16 minutes 28 seconds; Billy Starling from Mercia Fell AC took third place in 17 minutes 13 seconds.

The 5K female winner was Helen Sahgal from Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton Harriers, who set a new female 5K course record with a finish time of 18 minutes 13 seconds. Helen also took the female 5K honours at Port Sunlight last year, breaking the previous course record. This year she
beat her own time, taking off a further 12 seconds.

Second place 5K female was Helen Stansfield from Wallasey AC in 19 minutes 30 seconds; while third place was taken by Rachel Bailey from Bolton United Harriers AC in 21 minutes and 1 second.

The 10K race was won by Dave Bennett from Ellesmere Port AC in a winning time of 32 minutes 31 seconds. Second place male was Jamie Rutherford from Liverpool Running Club in 32 minutes 53 seconds; while Jay Walker took third position in 35 minutes 11 seconds.

First place female in the 10K was Carmel Triggs from Kirkby Milers in 40 minutes 29 seconds – taking the top position for two consecutive years. Second place 10K female was Alexa Besnard from Chorlton Runners in 41 minutes 13 seconds; while Jo Irvin from UTS Running Club took
third position with a time of 41 minutes 22 seconds.

The final finisher in the 10K was Barbara Ann Smith from West Derby. A BTR race regular, Barbara was given a round applause as she crossed the finish line by youngsters who lined both sides of the start line funnel ahead of their 1K Fun Run

It was also a special day for Port Sunlight residents, Victoria and Steve Bowness, who took part in the 5K for the very first time – despite Victoria breaking her foot in March. They ran in memory of Victoria’s Grandfather Terry Brazel, who passed away in July 2017. Together, the couple have raised more than £700 for the Lee Spark Foundation, to help raise awareness about Necrotising Fasciitis.

Port Sunlight celebrates the 130th anniversary of the founding of the village during 2018. The historic village was founded by William Lever in 1888 for the employees of his Lever Brothers soap works. Today it is considered the finest example of an industrial worker village in the UK.

Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT) is an independent charity created in 1999 to be the guardian of Port Sunlight, working with the community to protect the heritage, ensure a great quality of life for residents and celebrate William Lever’s amazing legacy. PSVT invests nearly £3million each year in maintaining and conserving the estate and in lifelong learning programmes for all.

To coincide with the 130th anniversary in 2018, PSVT will launch a new 5 year Strategic Plan and 10 year Conservation Management Plan and, for the first time, the organisation will exhibit a back to back garden at RHS Tatton in July.

PSVT was also recognised at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards 2018, when it was named Independent Tourism Business Of The Year and Port Sunlight Museum won Small Visitor Attraction Of The Year.

MAGGIE SPARKS, HONORARY PRESIDENT OF PORT SUNLIGHT VILLAGE TRUST, COMMENTED: “THIS YEAR’S PORT SUNLIGHT ROAD RACE WAS PARTICULARLY SPECIAL AND HAD A REAL CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE. IT WAS WONDERFUL TO SEE SO MANY FAMILIES TAKING PART ACROSS ALL THREE RACES, AND PROUDLY WEARING THEIR MEDALS WITH BIG SMILES.

“THE RACE IS A HIGHLIGHT IN OUR EVENTS CALENDAR AND WE ARE INDEBTED TO THE RESIDENTS, THE RACE STEWARDS AND UNILEVER PORT SUNLIGHT FOR THEIR SUPPORT. WELL DONE TO EVERYONE WHO TOOK PART. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WELCOMING YOU BACK TO THE VILLAGE NEXT YEAR.”

To mark Port Sunlight’s 130-year anniversary, a team of 130 employees from Unilever Port Sunlight also took part.

This is the fifth year Unilever has sponsored the Port Sunlight Road Race as part of its Bright Future campaign. One of the company’s goals is to help a billion people around the world improve their health and well-being by 2020.

Unilever is extremely proud of its history and heritage in Port Sunlight, where company founder William Lever built his factory and village in 1888. The company continues to have world class manufacturing, R&D and IT facilities based here, along with a third of its UK workforce. Unilever’s brands include household names Persil, Dove, Tresemme, Radox, Comfort and Surf.

CAMERON JONES, HEAD OF UNILEVER PORT SUNLIGHT, COMMENTED: “WHAT ANOTHER FANTASTIC TURN-OUT, THE VILLAGE GREEN WAS A HIVE OF EXCITEMENT AND ACTIVITY. UNILEVER IS IMMENSELY PROUD OF ITS 130-YEAR HERITAGE IN PORT SUNLIGHT, SO WE WERE DELIGHTED TO HAVE A UNILEVER TEAM OF 130 RUNNERS TAKING PART. CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE WHO TOOK PART.”

This year, a team of 208 runners took on the Port Sunlight Dual Race challenge – taking part in both the 5K and 10K races. A handful of runners set themselves the unofficial challenge of completing both races back-to-back four years ago.

Last year BTR made the combined 15K distance a challenge in its own right – this year those completing both races received an extra medal to mark their achievement.

The date for next year’s Port Sunlight Road Race has been set for Sunday 16 June 2019 – entries are now open at www.btrliverpool.com

Hoylake-based race organisers BTR is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region, including Wirral Half Marathon/10K; and Liverpool Santa Dash.

Next up in the BTR race portfolio is the seven-day, six race, 52-mile Tour Of Merseyside, with events taking place in Southport, Wirral and Liverpool.

Victoria and Steve Bowness DSC_2832 Picture by Paul Francis Cooper
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