Runners pull on trainers to tackle half-marathon

Thousand of runners shunned concerns about coronavirus to take part in the 27th annual BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon, praising volunteer support on the day.

The 13.1-mile race started and finished at Pier Head Liverpool on Sunday March 15, with the event also including the fifth annual 10 Mile Road Race. Almost 2,500 runners take part across both races.

Liverpool Half Marathon was first staged in 1994, and has since firmly established itself as the North West’s premier road race event.

Race organisers BTR Liverpool gave participants the option to run virtually if they were unable to be there in person. A further 200 runners completed the distances in locations including the Isle Of Man, Jersey, and Germany.

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Anyone who had previously registered for either race distance can complete the virtual run before 31 March 2020.

The Half Marathon was won by Alistair Rutherford from Liverpool Harriers AC in a time of 1 hour 9 minutes 51 seconds. Alistair took second place last year but knocked over 3 minutes off that time to take the win.

First place half marathon female was Charlotte Mason from City Of York AC recording a time of 1 hour 21 minutes 52 seconds.

Alexander Sӧderberg from Spårvägen FK in Sweden was the first male finisher in the BTR Liverpool Skyline 10 Mile Road Race in 54 minutes 54 seconds.

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First female finisher was Joanne Harrison from Penny Lane Striders in 1 hour 10 minutes 55 seconds.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented: “It is a very challenging and unprecedented time. The BTR team would like to thank everyone who took part on Sunday under very difficult circumstances – and well done to those runners who took part virtually.

“We followed advice and guidance about Coronavirus from Government, Public Health England, the World Health Organisation, and our medical resource providers.

“We will always be governed by the very best medical advice to ensure the health and safety of our participants is paramount at all times.

“We will continue to keep our participants updated about future events.

“We must also publicly thank our event volunteers for their tremendous efforts on race day including our official time pacers, BTR Road Runners, Dockside Runners, LFC Foundation, Liverpool Area Army Cadet Force, Origins Sports Massage, Penny Lane Striders, the Race Angels, and members of the wider Merseyside running community. Without them, our races just wouldn’t be the same.”

Fifty-four-year-old Stephen Symons from Manchester continued his unbeaten run of taking part in all previous Liverpool half marathon race events – making this his 27th consecutive year. The Quays Running Club member completed the race in 1 hour 57 minutes 47 seconds. Despite suffering from a brain haemorrhage in November 2012, Stephen still managed his continuous race run in March 2013 and took part accompanied by family.

The day’s most senior male runner in the half marathon was 82-year-old John Courtney from Liverpool, the race being his 110th half marathon.

Other senior males in the half marathon included 80-year-old Ronald Thornton from Crosby; Raymond Massey, aged 76 from Croxteth; and 72-year-old Sidney Molyneux from New Brighton.

As part of its commitment to support community projects, BTR Liverpool invited Fans Supporting Foodbanks to collect food items donated by runners.

Arriva North West invited runners to go green on race day by offering free travel across the Merseyside bus network before and after the race. Arriva has also supported the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash for three years with complimentary bus travel for Santas.

The support from Arriva North West supports BTR Liverpool’s commitment to make its portfolio of races more green and environmentally friendly, as well as continuing to find ways to reduce single use plastic in its race events. Post race refreshments are now handed to runners instead of using goody bags – therefore reducing the amount of plastic bags used throughout the year by almost 40,000. Protective plastic pockets for medals are also being phased out and instead sustainable, biodegradable tissue paper is used.

Liverpool drumming band Batala Mersey gave runners an exciting send-off as they set off from the Pier Head. They later welcomed them back, spurring runners along the final home straight and towards the finish line.

A grandstand start and finish line area saw runners and spectators gather under the gaze of the Liver Birds and the iconic Three Graces – Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port Of Liverpool Building – part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This year’s event was rebranded to the BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon to celebrate the host destination’s strong tourism offer. Runners were invited to take in the city’s sights on foot, with the route featuring famous landmarks including Liverpool Cathedral, Royal Albert Dock, and Museum Of Liverpool.

The date for next year’s BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon has been confirmed for Sunday 21 March 2021, early bird entry price is available.