This Sunday saw the return of the BTR Wirral Half Marathon and Wirral 10K with the weekend also signaling the launch of the three day Whistle Stop Tour of Wirral. After scooping the prestigious title of Event of the Year 2015 at the Wirral Tourism Awards in April, expectations were high for the staging of the 10K and half marathon, with both races once again recording impressive turnouts.
The picturesque route took runners from the start in Birkenhead Park, to the Wirral coast and along to Fort Perch Rock, before finishing at The Dips in New Brighton. This year’s event attracted overseas runners from France, Norway, Poland and Spain. The day’s most senior runner was 87-year-old Eddie Naisby from Prestatyn RC, who took part in the 10K and finished with a time of 1:05.
Leading the 600 plus field home was Liverpool Harriers’ Dejene Gezimu in just 30:58, with Wirral AC’s Phillip Langan and Peter Green his closest rivals in 34:16 and 34:20 respectively. The first female finisher was Kirsty Longley from Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers in 36:18, with Vicky Unswroth second (39:31) and Calista Dufton-Kelly (42:38) third.
Overall winner of the BTR Wirral Half Marathon was Mark Dunham in 1:12:08, closely followed by Ian Lawton (1:12:25) and Anthony Taylor (1:13:13). Zoe Gmerek led the female field home in 1:30:41.
In what is a further boost to the expanding and impressive BTR portfolio, Friday saw the first ever Whistle Stop of Wirral take place. The three-day challenge started with a five-mile flat race at Arrowe Park, followed the next morning with a challenging eight miles at Thurstaston, before concluding with Sunday’s half marathon. Almost 250 runners completed the inaugural event.
On what was a highly successful weekend of racing, BTR Liverpool event director Alan Rothwell commented: “What a fantastic and memorable three days. Huge well done to the very first Wirral Tourists. They all stayed focused and there was a huge sense of camaraderie throughout – and this is an excellent example of exactly what the running community is all about."
“Thank you to the 10K and half marathon runners who took part in Wirral Event Of The Year. It is great to see runners of all abilities start the race together at Birkenhead Park before heading towards New Brighton, they really do encourage each other throughout with endless support.”