BTR Liverpool’s Mersey Tunnel 10K enjoyed its second sell out in successive years as 3,000 runners registered for Sunday’s (19 June) race. The 10K, one of the most unique events on the circuit with a course that takes competitors through the Kingsway Wallasey Tunnel, saw Liverpool Harriers’ Dejene Gezimu secure first place, a comprehensive course record, and just as impressively, his fourth consecutive victory at a BTR race.
With the sun shining for much of the day, thousands of spectators turned out to support the runners as they set off from Blackstock Street before making their way into the Kingsway Wallasey Tunnel. After emerging from the tunnel, they then took a route along the picturesque Wirral seafront from Seacombe, past Fort Perch Rock and the Marine Lake, before arriving at the grandstand finish area on Ian Fraser Walk in New Brighton.
In thrilling form throughout the year, Gezimu set a fierce early pace and it soon became clear Tarus Elly’s record of 31:16 was in danger. So it proved with the 23-year-old Ethiopian taking a comfortable first place, two minutes ahead of clubmate James McNally (32:48), with Phillip Langan third (33:14).
Gezimu now boasts the impressive feat of victories in each of the last four BTR events; the Wirral 10K in September 2015 (30:58), Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon in March (1:06:58); and the Port Sunlight 10K the following month.
Helen Sahgal, also no stranger to podium places at the BTR events, took first place in the women’s competition in a time of 38:34, with Charlotte Wilson-Dewhurst second (40:01) and Natasha Dawson third (40:23).
The 10k was just the start of the celebrations for Abir Ali from Moreton, who finished the race just hours before getting married. This was the fourth time he has completed the event, and did so wearing a shirt, tie and buttonhole flower – with a personalised ‘Groom’ race number. Love must have been in the air as Louise Thomas from Liverpool RC, set to get married on Wednesday, ran the 10k in a tutu in her club colours, veil and crown.
BTR race director Alan Rothwell commented: “What another incredible turn-out. The Mersey Tunnel 10K is a favourite race for many people, as it is the only chance you have to run through the tunnel. And there’s no better way than with fellow runners, having a great day and collecting a special bespoke medal and commemorative T-shirt to mark the occasion. Thank you to everyone who took part.
“Congratulations to Dejene on his Tunnel 10K win. He’s now won the last four BTR races and also set two course records. What a fantastic talent, he’s definitely one to watch. It was a very special day for many runners: Abir and Louise both had a great day, we’re delighted they chose to make the Tunnel 10K part of such a special time of their lives, and we wish them and their respective partners every future happiness.”
Images courtesy of BTR Liverpool and Paul Francis Cooper.