Wirral once again welcomed a trio of BTR Liverpool’s events with open arms with the Whistle Stop Tour kicking off proceedings on Friday (8 September). The weekend was capped off by the Wirral 10K and Half Marathon with the three races attracting over 1500 participants.
Launched in 2015, the Whistle Stop Tour has proven to be a popular addition to the BTR portfolio and the Tourists with the three-day, multi-terrain races a big draw for runners. The challengers began their tour on Friday at Arrowe Park with a five-mile off-road race. This was followed by eight challenging miles at Thurstaston Country Park, Thurstaston Beach and the Wirral Way, before joining the Wirral Half Marathoners for the final event, when the Wirral Tourists join the main field of runners.
The event turned out to be a resounding success for Southport Waterloo’s Mark Dunham who scooped first place in all three stages – a feat the defending champion narrowly missed out on in 2016. Dunham finished with a total combined time of 2:26:45, almost seven minutes ahead of Terence Forest (2:33:41), who once again claimed second place. Jay Walker finished third in 2:41:03.
Like Dunham, Carmel Triggs preserved her crown with style to take victory in the women’s Tour in an impressive 3:03:53. Fiona Cook (3:11:45) and Jen Adams (3:18:25) were her two closest competitors.
It was clearly a day for the defending champions to shine as Dejene Gezimu and Kirsty Longley both secured respective victories in the 10k. Liverpool Harrier Gezimu was a good minute quicker than last year and won without any close challengers in 30:34. His clubmate James McNally (33:42) was some three minutes behind, while Edd Flynn (34:33) took third.
Longley (35:40) didn’t manage to improve on her 2016 winning time but claimed an impressive sixth overall en route to victory. Macclesfield Harrier Louisa Whittingham (38:42) and Alison Reid (42:39) took second and third respectively.
Southport Waterloo’s Mark Dunham didn’t seem to show any signs of fatigue from running for three days on the trot as he headed the half marathon field in 1:12:41, and, like Gezimu, did so in comprehensive fashion, with Terence Forest (1:14:07) next to cross the line. Knowsley Harriers’ Chris Pownell took third in 1:15:20. Like Dunham, Triggs capped off her Tour win with an impressive victory in the half marathon, coming home in 1:28:45, followed by Jennifer Houghton (1:30:58) and Liz Turner (1:32:40).
Results from all three races are available in our race listings section.