With New Brighton promenade bathed in sunshine, almost 3,000 runners were given a fitting finish to Sunday's Mersey Tunnel 10k. In what was the 8th staging of the event, pre-race favourite Tarus Elly secured top placing in his first competitive outing in Merseyside, with local runner Kirsty Longley first in the female field.
Starting at Pall Mall, runners moved through a gentle descent towards the River Mersey, with the tunnel's entrance marking the 2k point of the route. The second half of the course passed through the Wallasey Ferry Terminal, with the sun-kissed promenade providing a great backdrop for the competitors.
Elly, fresh from his victory at the Pennine Lancashire 10K last weekend, set a quick early pace and finished in 31:25. The Salford Harriers' runner said: "It feels fantastic to win. This is my first race on Merseyside. I was pleased with the time I made." Elly was followed by Liverpool Harriers' John McCole following (31:52), with Daniel Grant rounding off the top trio of male performers in a time of 32:48.
In the women's field, Crosby runner Kirstie Longley, 36, gave a fantastic performance to finish first in 37:45. The Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton member was modest in her post-race comments: "I only started running when I was 29 and I used to come last in all my races, so my goal was to come second to last in my next - so I did, and eventually I kept chipping away. It shows you can start at any age. I'm not talented, I just work hard."
Having re-emerged in 2006 after a four year absence, the Mersey Tunnel 10k has become one of the most popular events in the btr Liverpool portfolio. The next event in their series is the inaugural Tour of Merseyside on 7 July. More information is available on the btr Liverpool website.