It looks likely the Wirral Half Marathon will become a permanent and popular fixture in the northern calendar after a successful first outing on Sunday. The event, which included a 10k, drew in a field of almost 2,500 runners with organisers, btr Liverpool, delighted at the turnout.
Conditions were chilly, with a brisk north wind and light sprinkling of rain for both races. The half marathon, scheduled following the cancellation of the Liverpool marathon, saw runners set off from Birkenhead Park towards New Brighton. Penny Lane Striders' Martin Swensson led the men's field home in 1:13:11, with Ben Costello (1:13:31) and Chris McCarthy closely following (1:13:35).
Jenny Clague of Liverpool Harriers & AC took top place in the female competition in 1:23:25, with Sarah Caskey and Jayne McGrath securing the other two podium positions. In the 10k, 18-year-old Jack Atkins continued his impressive form this season to take first place in 36:27, with Steven Wilkinson (36:43) and Alan Kennedy (36:50) in second and third respectively.
Race director Alan Rothwell told northernrunningguide.com: "The first Wirral Half Marathon and 10K has been acknowledged as an outstanding success by the Merseyside running community - and even some as far afield as Denmark, Spain, Belgium and Norway. The event ran like clockwork and the flat coastal course ensured there were many PBs. It is clear that this event is going to prove very popular with runners in the north west and the event is a welcome addition to the racing calendar on Merseyside."
The shout from many of the competitors today was 'See you at the Santa Dash in December', as the now traditional curtain raiser to the festive season is less than two months away. More info on the race is available at btr Liverpool website.