City Runners turn out for the first Liverpool road race in 18 months!
More than 1,000 eager runners laced up their trainers at the weekend to take part in the biggest road race Liverpool has seen in 18 months.
The 28 annual BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon is a highlight in the race calendar given its long established roots. The event on Sunday (12 September) also featured the sixth annual 10 Mile Road Race. Both races began together from Pier Head Liverpool on the city’s iconic waterfront.
The race was last staged exactly 18 months ago in March 2020, a week before the Government announced the first national Covid-19 lockdown.
The date for next year’s BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon and 10 Mile Road Race is already confirmed for Sunday 27 March 2021. Entries are open.
Organisers BTR Liverpool say they feel “extremely privileged and relieved” they could once again stage a headline race event to bring the Merseyside running community together following the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region. All BTR races are organised and delivered in accordance with Covid guidelines.
BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon 2021 was won by Thomas Rogerson from Liverpool Harriers AC in a time of 1 hour 11 minutes 22 seconds. First place female was Fay Hughes from UTS Running Club in 1 hour 24 minutes.
Joseph Turner from Cambridge & Coleridge AC was first place male in the BTR Liverpool Skyline 10 Mile Road Race 2021 in 54 minutes 33 seconds. First female was Amy McKechnie from Queensbury RC in 1 hour 6 minutes 17 seconds.
Last year’s event was rebranded to the BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon to celebrate the host destination’s strong tourism offer. The race route takes in the city’s famous sights including landmarks Liverpool Cathedral, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Sefton Park, and Museum Of Liverpool.
Runners enjoyed a grandstand start and finish line area under the gaze of the Liver Birds and the iconic Three Graces – Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port Of Liverpool Building. There was a slight change to the start of the race to accommodate ongoing roadworks on The Strand.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:
“The runners came out, the medals were shining, and there were plenty of smiles from start to finish. We staged the same race exactly 18 months ago just before the first national lockdown, and everyone has been through such a challenging time since. We feel extremely privileged and relieved to bring headline races back to the city.
“We must applaud a brilliant team effort from our volunteers – the official time pacers; 4 Coy Merseyside Army Cadet Force, Dockside Runners, Everton in the Community, Good Gym Liverpool, Liverpool Running Bugs, Penny Lane Striders, and members of the wider Merseyside running community.
“We’re now incredibly excited and counting down the days to five further events in 2021, including the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on 26 September and the festive spectacular Appreciate Group Liverpool Santa Dash on 5 December. Races have most definitely returned, let’s get back out there.”
Organisers BTR Liverpool implemented a series of Covid-19 safety measures, encouraging runners to take a Covid-19 lateral flow test and maintain distancing on the day. To minimise personal contact, runners were required to pick up their own water, medals and T-shirts.
Fifty-five-year-old Stephen Symons from Quays Running Club in Manchester has completed every Liverpool Half Marathon, making it his 28 consecutive year. Stephen completed the race in 2 hours 2 minutes 42 seconds.
Stephen suffered a brain haemorrhage in November 2012, but still completed the next race in March 2013 accompanied by family. He is already looking forward to next year when the race returns to its usual March date – and is excited for a landmark year in 2024 when the race marks its 30 anniversary.
The day’s most senior male runner was 83-year-old John Courtney from Liverpool. This was his 111 half marathon and he guided his blind son James during the race.
Southport runner Paul Warrington, 45, took part in the half marathon dressed in full hockey goalkeeper kit to attempt a Guinness World Record. Paul completed the 13.1 miles wearing a helmet, chest protector, elbow protectors, hard pads on both legs, padded shorts, leg guards, hand pads and shoe pads – the kit weighed 12lbs before adding running kit and a water hydration pack.
Paul was accompanied by fellow Southport & Waterloo Athletics Club runner Tracey Barlow. Unfortunately he did not set a new record – but he has smashed his charity target for Cancer Research UK raising more than £1,500. Paul’s father-in-law was diagnosed with lymphoma in Summer 2020, he is now in recovery after six months of chemotherapy – and he used this as the motivation for his challenge. Paul’s donation page is https://bit.ly/3zpMWJE
As travelling restrictions continue to ease, overseas runners from Belgium, Denmark, and Germany took part.
A group of 30 runners from Alive Fitness gym in Crosby took part. Local running clubs represented included BTR Road Runners, Kirkby Milers AC, Liverpool Running Club, Marsh Lane Harriers, and Penny Lane Striders.
Liverpool drumming band Batala Mersey gave runners an uplifting send-off as they started the race. They later welcomed them back, spurring runners along the final home straight near Museum Of Liverpool and towards the finish line.
The Gym at Liverpool ONE offered participants a free one day pass on race day to use the changing facilities.
Next up in the BTR race portfolio is the 15 BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on Sunday 26 September.