Almost 1,700 runners are gearing up to take part in three events across Wirral this weekend. This Sunday (10 September) will see the award-winning BTR Wirral Half Marathon and 10K return for a fifth consecutive year, while 350 runners will embark upon a whirlwind, 26-mile Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral.
Despite being launched just three years ago, BTR Liverpool’s Wirral Half Marathon has received highly favourable reviews and scooped the prestigious title of Event of the Year 2015 at the Wirral Tourism Awards.
On Sunday, runners will tackle a slightly modified route. Due to extensive ongoing works near the Four Bridges in Birkenhead, both the half and 10k will have a combined start and finish area in New Brighton.
After setting off from Coastal Drive at New Brighton, the runners will head out along the promenade to Seacombe Ferry, before heading back to New Brighton. They will follow the course as in previous years by passing Fort Perch Rock, and heading along Ian Fraser Walk to the clown roundabout.
10K runners will then return to Coastal Drive to finish, while the half marathon runners will continue towards the Leasowe Lighthouse before also returning to Coastal Drive. The race looks set to be hotly contested, with defending champions Dejene Gezimu and Kirsty Longley confirmed participants.
The Whistle Stop Tour will kick off this evening (Friday 8 September) at Arrowe Park with a five-mile off-road race. This is followed the next morning with eight challenging multi-terrain miles at Thurstaston Country Park, Thurstaston Beach and the Wirral Way. The Wirral Half Marathon marks the final event, when the Wirral Tourists join the main field of runners.
As with the 10k, a number of runners will be vying for podium places. The top three male and female finishers from 2016 – Mark Dunham, Terry Forrest, Alan Kennedy, Carmel Triggs, Fiona Cook and Jen Adams – will all be present at the start line at Arrowe Park on Friday night.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented: “Good luck to everyone taking part in this weekend’s hat-trick of Wirral races. The locations offer participants diverse and challenging running terrains set against impressive scenery, and last year we saw impressive performances across all three races.”