Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral Added To Event Of The Year

Runners taking part in three race challenges descended on Wirral this weekend for a new race series.

The established BTR Wirral Half Marathon/10K returned yesterday (Sunday, 13 September) for its third consecutive year.

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.

The BTR Wirral Half Marathon/10K was named Event Of The Year 2015 after tourism awards judges praised the event and BTR team for its high levels of customer service, growth, quality standards and media coverage. This year it returned as a bigger event with an extra element of now also including a three-day race series.

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.

The BTR Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral consists of three races over three days covering 26 miles, and attracted over 250 Tourists for the inaugural event.

It took place from Friday to Sunday (11 to 13 September), with a fast five-mile race at Arrowe Park on Friday evening, followed the next morning by a challenging eight miles at Thurstaston. The Tourists then joined the main field and took place in the Wirral Half Marathon.

All finishers received a commemorative medal, T-shirt for goody bag to mark their achievement.

The overall winner of the BTR Wirral 10K was Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers AC in 30:58 (chip time). The first female finisher was Kirsty Longley from Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers in 36:18 (chip time).

The overall winner of the BTR Wirral Half Marathon was Mark Dunham in 1:12:08 (chip time). The first female finisher was Zoe Gmerek in 1:30:41.

Mark Dunham was also the overall winner of the first BTR Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral. The lead female was Jane Gill.

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events in Liverpool City Region. Its growing portfolio includes the Mersey Tunnel 10K; Port Sunlight 10K/5K/1K; Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon; and Medicash Santa Dash Liverpool.

BTR race director Alan Rothwell commented:

“What a fantastic and memorable three days. The Whistle Stop Tourists Of Wirral started with a fast race at Arrowe Park, followed by a very tough eight miles at Thurstaston.

“An early tide at Thurstaston meant that the Tourists also encountered a spot of rock scrambling before hitting the steep hills of The Dales – but they all took it in their stride and embraced each mile with sheer determination. The 26-mile Tour was brought to a close with the Wirral Half Marathon. And the Tourists certainly made themselves heard at each event by making the most of the whistles provided.

“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. Entries opened on Monday (14 September) and we already have almost 100 runners registered for the limit of 300 Wirral Tour places, so it has the potential to become as successful as the headline 52-mile Tour Of Merseyside.

“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.

“Wirral really lends itself to hosting running events of varying distances and terrains, so we thoroughly enjoy taking our BTR events to various locations across the Wirral. We can’t thank the volunteers, spectators and runners for their support. You all did yourselves extremely proud.”

The third annual Tour Of Merseyside took place in July with two of the six races being staged in Wirral – in Thurstaston and the Wirral Coastal Run from New Brighton to Hoylake. The 2016 event sold out in just eight hours.

Local running clubs were well represented on the day, including Ellesmere Port RC, Liverpool Running Club, Kirkby Milers, Knowsley Harriers, Penny Lane Striders, Pensby Runners, and Wallasey AC.

Representatives from the BTR Footsteps Fundraisers brought a festive feel to the Wirral Half Marathon/10K.

The team all dressed as Santas to encourage runners to sign up for the Mediacash Santa Dash Liverpool taking place on Sunday, 6 December, and raise funds for the BTR Footsteps Fundraisers charities. They were joined by Radio City’s Cash For Kids mascot Courage in full festive costume.

The five BTR Footsteps Fundraisers charities are Claire House Children’s Hospice, Radio City’s Cash For Kids, Everton in the Community, Jospice, and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. The initiative is a fundraising partnership, bringing the charities together to benefit financially through BTR’s key race events over a 12-month period by encouraging participants to fundraise and support them.

Fundraisers can collect a sponsor form from the BTR Liverpool office at 23 Hatton Garden, Liverpool, L3 2FE – or can set up their own online fundraising page at www.everydayhero.co.uk/event/supportbtrfootsteps – where all funds raised will be split equally between the five charities.

Next in the BTR event calendar is the Medicash Santa Dash Liverpool on Sunday, 6 December – a 5K run fun through Liverpool city centre from Pier Head Liverpool and finishing outside Liverpool Town Hall. Enter online or download forms at www.btrliverpool.com

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