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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2016-11-24

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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The winners of the Merseyside Running Community Awards 2016 have been announced.

THE top honours were revealed at a special celebratory awards dinner at The Richmond Hotel Liverpool in front of 130 guests and sponsors. This is the third year of the awards, which celebrate and thank individuals and groups who make a huge difference to Merseyside's growing running community.  A total of 11 awards were presented and the evening was hosted by Radio City's Claire Simmo and Graeme White, with entertainment from Liverpool soul band, The A Team.

Kirkby Milers, a new running club still in its infancy and less than two years since it was established, were named Club of the Year for the 2nd consecutive year. While the Charity Fundraiser award was won by Gary Jones and young son, 10 year old, Ben, who Gary is often seen pushing round races in his specially adapted buggy raising thousands of pounds for a number of various charities.

The 2016 event also featured a surprise award to recognise Outstanding Contribution from leading independent race organisers and headline sponsor BTR Liverpool. The introduction of the new award was announced during the evening itself.

The 1st recipients of the special award were 44 year old James Hughes and his foster dad John Courtney, aged 78. They have become familiar faces on the running circuit since they began back in 1988.

The awards began in 2014 when the running community were keen to celebrate all that is special about the sport locally. Each year, members of the running community and public are encouraged to submit nominations. A total of three finalists are then announced for each category and the winners are chosen by an online vote which is open to all.

This year's awards achieved 2 personal bests of its own after generating the most nominations to date, as well as the most number of votes cast to choose the finalists which totalled 2,700 votes.

The winners of the Merseyside Running Community Awards 2016 are:-

Volunteer Team - Keith Peacock (Wigan)
Best Running Moment - Smiler Mile at the Tour Of Merseyside
Services to the Running Community - Paul Cope (Kirkby)
Newcomer of the Year - Steph Battersby (Prescot)
Running Image of the Year - Speedo Milers for Woodlands Hospice
Running Personality - Terence Forrest (Leeds)
Charity Fundraiser - Gary and Ben Jones (Aughton)
Inspirational Individual - Jo Moody (Croxteth)
Club of the Year - Kirkby Milers
Lifetime Achievement - Dave Edwards (Liverpool)
Special Award - Outstanding Contribution To Running
John Courtney and James Hughes (Liverpool)

Support for the awards came from:- Cestrian Loos, District House, The Goody Bag Company, Jef Group, Paramount Stewarding, The Richmond Hotel Liverpool, RunABC North, Running Imp, TDL Event Services, Wild Thang and headline sponsor BTR Liverpool, who also organised and delivered the Merseyside Running Community Awards. Category sponsors took to the stage to announce the winners and present them with their awards and certificates. All finalists also received a certificate.

BTR Liverpool is behind some of the biggest and most popular running events in the North West. Its portfolio includes the Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon; Tour Of Merseyside; Tunnel 10K; and Radio City Liverpool Santa Dash.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:- "What a fantastic night for all involved. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists, and not forgetting everyone who was nominated. Over 2,700 votes were cast, that's a personal best for the awards so thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate and vote.  BTR is delighted to introduce the special award for 2016, and John and James are very worthy winners. John guides visually impaired James through every race and no challenge is too small, they have even taken on the 52 mile Tour Of Merseyside for the past 3 years. Watching them run together is incredibly heart warming and they never fail to inspire others; their bond is unrivalled.  Merseyside's running community continues to thrive and is home to some of the region's most inspiring stories; keep up the fantastic work everyone."

The evening also included a prize draw and auction, which raised ?800 for the BTR Footsteps Fundraisers charities:- Radio City's Cash For Kids, Everton in the Community and Zoe's Place Baby Hospice.

Prizes were donated by Beatles Story; Bill Elms Associates; BTR Liverpool; Collins Chiropractic; District House; Everton Football Club; Isla Gladstone Conservatory; Liverpool Playhouse Theatre; Lotus Therapies; Radio City; Richmond Hotel Liverpool; Royal Court Liverpool; The Holistic Hub; Venture Studios; and Wirral Cryotherapy.

Next for BTR is the Radio City Liverpool Santa Dash on Sunday, 4 December 2016. Enter in person at Rapid Discount Outlet in Liverpool City Centre or the BTR office at 82 Market Street, Hoylake, or enter online.


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