15 Sep

Sunshine Welcomes Wirral Runners

Dejene Dezimu leading the pack, image by Paul Francis Cooper2000 plus runners made their way to Wirral on Sunday (11 September) and were met with bright and sunny weather when they competed in the BTR Liverpool’s Wirral Half Marathon and Wirral 10K. With both courses including a stretch along the Wirral coastline, participants were treated to a glorious day of autumn running, with many of the field recording PBs too.

Despite being launched just three years ago, the 13.1 mile race has received highly favourable reviews and scooped the prestigious title of Event of the Year 2015 at the Wirral Tourism Awards. From the coastline, the course moves to Fort Perch Rock before continuing to Leasowe then returning to cross the finish line at The Dips.

Dermot Byres secure top spot in the half marathon in 1:15:0 with Liverpool Harriers’ Paul Sankey second (1:15:47) and Chris Pownell (1:17:03) in third place. Karen Stopforth (1:30:44) led the female field home in 1:30:51, with Carly Jackson (1:32:04) and Lindsay Walker (1:32:03) following.

In the 10k, meanwhile, defending champion Dejene Gezimu showed little signs of fatigue after his victory at Wigan the previous week to bag another win. The Liverpool Harrier was commanding in a race that saw him cross the line in 31:09, with Gareth Raven (32:00) and Andy McQue (33:49) his closest competitors. The women’s race witnessed a new course record as Kirsty Longley finished first in 35:32, Sophie Whiteside followed closely in 35:48.

The Whistle Stop Tourists, image by Paul Francis CooperSunday also saw the close to the second staging of the Whistle Stop Tour of Wirral. The 26 mile challenge spanned three days and began with a fast five mile race at Arrowe Park, an eight miles multi-terrain at Thurstaston on Saturday, before the Tourists joined the main field on Sunday to participate in the Wirral Half Marathon.

Southport Waterloo AC’s Mark Dunham claimed his second successive Tour title with a highly impressive showing which he capped off with a half marathon time of 1:12:08. Carmel Triggs took the women’s title and set a new event record with a combined time of 3:03:53.

BTR Liverpool director Alan Rothwell believes the Wirral events are going from strength to strength: “What an incredible weekend of running across Wirral with so many impressive performances across all three races. We’re extremely lucky to have such stunning scenery on our doorstep, and Wirral provides the perfect setting for a diverse range of terrains to really challenge our runners.

“From first time runners to those chasing personal best times, you can never under estimate the determination and elation of our participants, they really are an inspiration. Congratulations to each and every runner who took part this weekend, as well as the spectators and volunteers who all play a vital role with their support.”