Sun shines success on runners for Vitality Liverpool half marathon

More than 5,000 runners took to the streets of Liverpool at the weekend (Sunday, 13 March) in perfect weather conditions for the 23rd annual Liverpool Half Marathon.

New for 2016, the Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon – which was first staged in 1994 and is the North West’s biggest half marathon – also featured a new Liverpool 10-Mile Road Race which proved popular with runners.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Tony Concepcion and Lady Mayoress Ann Concepcion were given the honour of starting the race. Liverpool FC legend Robbie Fowler also gave the runners a cheer while they were warming up.

The Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon is organised and delivered by award-winning BTR Liverpool. BTR is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region.

Runners from 16 overseas countries travelled to Liverpool specifically to take part. The countries represented were Brazil, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

The race is part of the national Vitality Run Series – and is the only event in the series which is in the North of England. This is Liverpool’s second year of a three-year sponsorship agreement with Vitality, the event was also supported by Lucozade Sport and sportswear brand Brooks.

The first male home in the half marathon was Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers in 1:06:58, and the first female home was Michelle Nolan from Gatehead Harriers AC in 1:20:19.

Michelle has set a new course record, taking 45 seconds of the standing course record which set last year. Dejene narrowly missed out on also setting a new record by 35 seconds.

The first male home in the 10 Miler was Connor McArdle from Wallasey AC in 58:40, and the first female home was Michelle King from Penny Lane Striders in 1:10:59.

It was a special day too for Stephen Symons, who continued his unbroken record and has now taken part in all 23 Liverpool Half Marathons – he even had race number 23 to mark the occasion.

Fifty-year-old Stephen had a brain haemorrhage in November 2012, but still managed to take part in March 2013 accompanied by family. A runner for Manchester YMCA Harriers Club, Stephen finished this year’s race in 1:56:12.

The event’s most senior runners all took part in the half marathon. They were 87-year-old Eddie Naisby from Prestatyn RC who finished in 2:38:35; 78-year-old Ronnie Jones who finished in 2:15:43; and 70-year-old Sue Nicholls from Burnham-On-Sea Harriers who finished in 1:51:04.

Runners took to the streets of Liverpool to complete a choice of 13.1 miles or 10 miles, taking in the iconic sights and landmarks of the UNESCO World Heritage city.

The event started and finished under the gaze of the Liver Birds at Pier Head Liverpool, an iconic backdrop to showcase the city.

The route took runners on a scenic course passing Albert Dock Liverpool, the Museum Of Liverpool, Liverpool Cathedral and Sefton Park Palm House, before embarking on a three-mile home straight along Otterspool Promenade and towards Pier Head Liverpool to cross the finish line.

The runners then returned to the city’s stunning waterfront for a grandstand finish in front of the magnificent Three Graces – the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port of Liverpool Building – where they were presented with their finishers’ medal, T-shirt and goody bag.

BTR’s impressive race portfolio also includes the Liverpool Santa Dash; Mersey Tunnel 10K; Port Sunlight 10K/5K/1K; 26-mile Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral; 52-mile Tour Of Merseyside; and the award-winning Wirral Half Marathon/10K.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:

“We are absolutely thrilled with this year’s Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon and our brand new 10 Mile Road Race. Over 5,000 runners turned out in force in perfect running conditions and thoroughly enjoyed the race. There was a real buzz round the Pier Head, which looked absolutely fantastic and showcased our stunning waterfront. A new female half marathon course record was also set by Michelle Nolan, absolutely brilliant and well done.

“We have to say a huge thank you to everyone who ran; the marshals; the army of volunteers on the water stations; spectators; and especially the runners who travelled from 16 overseas countries to take part in one of BTR’s biggest races.

“Entries are already open for 2017 and keen runners still on a high from Sunday are registering, which speaks volumes about how much people enjoyed the day. Next year’s date is confirmed as 2 April. And we are already thinking past next year’s race and ahead to our milestone 25th year in 2018.”

The Vitality Run Series brings together nine of the UK’s most exciting running events to provide all runners, irrespective of ability, to take on their next challenge and be inspired to reach their own personal goals.

Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality, said:

“We were delighted LFC legend Robbie Fowler attended the Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon. This not only raised the race’s profile but also provided a fantastic memory for all of our runners on the day.”

Local affiliated running clubs represented include Chester Road Runners; City of Chester Tri Club; Ellesmere Port RC; Ford Halewood AC; Helsby (BICC) RC; Kirkby Milers; Knowsley Harriers; Littlewoods Leggers; Liverpool Harriers AC; Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton Harriers; Liverpool Running Club; Mersey Tri; Mossley Hill AC; Parbold Pink Panthers; Penny Lane Striders; Pensby Runners; Picton Sports Centre RC; Skelmersdale Boundary Harriers; Southport & Waterloo AC; St Helens Striders; St Helens Sutton AC; Village Road Runners; Wallasey AC; Warrington RC; West Cheshire AC; Widnes Wasps Ladies RC; Wigan District Harriers; and Wirral AC.

Next up in the BTR race calendar is the Port Sunlight 5K/10K/1K Kids’ Fun Run on Sunday, 17th April.


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