Before the dust has settled on another amazing year for BTR Tour Of Merseyside, organisers have announced that already two-thirds of places have been taken for the 2015 event. A core cluster of 160 runners of all levels and abilities completed the six races of the Tour over seven days on Saturday July 12, covering an impressive 52 miles of road races, multi-terrain and cross country.
The stages of the Tour took place daily with races in Southport (half marathon), Thurstaston (6 miles), Walton (10 miles), Hale (5 miles), Knowsley (6 miles) and New Brighton (12 miles), with a rest day half way through the week. Anthony Taylor from Manchester retained the overall title. He narrowly missed out breaking the 5-hour barrier with a finishing time of 5:00:55. For the women, Liverpool Harrier Jenny Clague remained in the top spot throughout the week, finishing first and seventh overall (5:40:03).
Anthony Taylor was joined on the podium by Slava Osipovs (fifth in 2013) with a time of 5:12:43 and Liverpool Harrier Gareth Howell (5:14:36), third for the second year running. Andrew Dunning also came fourth for the second year (5:28:22). In the women's contest Alex O’Brien from Liverpool Running Club (5:56:43) took second place and finished ninth overall while Knowsley Harrier Sharon Sampson finished third, 13th overall (6:09:15).
The Tourists included runners from York, Wales and the North East. They were joined by visually impaired runner James Hughes, aged 41, who was guided throughout the week by his 76-year-old foster father John Courtney.
The Tour Of Merseyside is the brainchild of BTR race director Alan Rothwell, who has previously taken part in a similar event in Tameside. That event no longer exists so Alan took the opportunity to develop a new event for the region.
Alan Rothwell told northernrunningguide. com: “The Tourists of 2013 experienced something incredibly special when we staged the first Tour last year. But this year’s event really has exceeded everyone’s expectations – the new runners, last year’s returning tourists and the BTR team.
“Each tourist has a reason why they are running, whether that’s for personal achievement, to experience a new challenge, or for charity. Each story is inspiring. And the experience and memories each runner took away with them will stay with them for a very long time.”
This year’s event more than doubled in size with 160 finishers, compared with 73 completing the Tour in 2013.