Runners on Merseyside enjoyed a gala occasion recently that recognised and celebrated a thriving running community. The inaugural Merseyside Running Community Awards were held at the Richmond Hotel Liverpool and saw Eamonn Brady (Running Personality of The Year) and Eddy Mountford (Lifetime Achievement Award) pick up the top awards.
The pair were joined on the presentation stage by Keith Peacock (Overcoming Adversity Award); Rachel Griffiths (Running Community Service Award), David Marsh (Most Inspirational Individual Award), Parkrun Princes Park (Volunteer Team of The Year) and Paul Cooper (Running Image of The Year Award).
Local hero Jonny Mellor took time out of his training schedule to attend the event and officially present the awards. Just days after presenting the awards, Jonny travelled to Kenya for a four-week high altitude training programme with British Athletics.
The 140 guests at the gala dinner gave veteran runner Eddy Mountford from the Wirral a standing ovation when he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement accolade. Eddy only began running aged 58, and has since completed 30 marathons and countless 10Ks and half marathons. The 91-year-old still takes part in race events.
The Merseyside Running Community Awards are the brainchild of RUN (Running Unites Network), a group of like-minded volunteer runners from across Merseyside who meet on a monthly basis to discuss all things running with RUN hosts, race organisers BTR Liverpool.
BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for race events and delivery in Liverpool City Region. Its portfolio of annual events includes the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon; BTR Wirral Half Marathon/10K; Mersey Tunnel 10K; and BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.
Collectively, RUN and BTR Liverpool created the Merseyside Running Community Awards to showcase and celebrate all that is positive and inspiring about the sport locally. The awards were open to the public to make their nominations, and from this a shortlist of three finalists for six categories were announced. A seventh category to capture the best running image had 12 finalists. Voting was open to the public and 2,200 votes were registered.
During the evening a prize draw was held, which raised £765.40 for the BTR Footsteps Fundraisers. This new charity initiative is a 12-month campaign to raise funds for five Merseyside charities through BTR race events. The beneficiary charities are Cash For Kids, Claire House Children’s Hospice, Everton in the Community, Jospice, and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
BTR race director Alan Rothwell commented: “The RUN volunteer group and BTR Liverpool are absolutely overwhelmed with how the running community has supported the inaugural Merseyside Running Community Awards. We were delighted with the diverse range and quality of the nominations in the first instance, but then to receive 2,200 public votes for the final shortlist was simply fantastic.