24th Annual Event Attracts
Photos with thanks to Paul Francis
LIVERPOOL FC Legends, four new course
records, and 2 Guinness World Records being broken all made Sunday's
Liverpool ½ Marathon a huge success, on 2 April 2017.
The sun was shining and made conditions perfect for 5,000 runners who took part
in the 13.1 mile ½ Marathon and the BTR 10 Mile Road Race which ran alongside
the main event for the second consecutive year.
Liverpool FC Legends Ian Rush and Gary McAllister were given the honour of
officially starting the race, cheering on runners as they crossed the start
Last year's top placed male and female runners in the ½ Marathon were again
on form both taking first place; Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers and
Michelle Nolan from Gateshead Harriers AC. Both also set new course records.
The ½ Marathon also played host to 2 Guinness World Record attempts. These
were both successful (subject to official verification).
With Alistair Rutherford from Allerton becoming the world's fastest
½ Marathon runner dressed as a musical instrument, and David Miles from Parbold
becoming the world's fastest ½ Marathon runner dressed as a chef.
Participants from across the globe arrived in Liverpool specifically to take
part in 1 of the City's largest annual sporting events, visiting from
countries including:- Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy,
Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland,
Sweden and the USA, as well as those closer to home with runners from the Isle
of Man and Ireland.
Both races started and finished under the gaze of the Liver Birds at Pier Head
Liverpool, an iconic backdrop to showcase the City set against the Three Graces; and on a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The course featured some of Liverpool's most famous sights including Liverpool
Cathedral, Princes Park, Sefton Park, Otterspool Promenade, Albert Dock
Liverpool, and Museum Of Liverpool.
Runners then returned to the City's stunning waterfront for a grandstand finish
where they were presented with their finishers' medal, T-shirt and goody bag.
The winner of the Vitality Liverpool ½ Marathon 2017 was Dejene Gezimu;
taking the top honours for the 2nd consecutive year.
Dejene also set a new course record with his winning time of 1:05:52 (gun time).
Dejene runs for Liverpool Harriers and last year he narrowly missed out on
breaking the record; but this year he returned and set a new record taking 1
minute 7 seconds off his winning time in 2016.
The first female home in the ½ Marathon was Michelle Nolan from Gateshead
Harriers AC with a winning time of 1:19:38 (gun time). In 2016 Michelle set a
new record by 45 seconds. This year she returned and broke her own record by
running another 43 seconds faster in 2017.
The first male home in the BTR 10 Mile Road Race was Mark Dunham from Southport
Waterloo AC in 54:18 (gun time), while the 1st female finisher was Sarah
Carroll from Salford Harriers AC in 1:07:04 (gun time). Both Mark and Sarah have
also set new course records for the BTR 10 Mile Road Race.
Liverpool FC Legends Ian Rush and Gary McAllister thrilled fans as they posed
for pictures and selfies, ahead of officially starting the race. The duo
attended as guests of Vitality and Liverpool Football Club with mascot Mighty
Red. They also cheered on runners who were fundraising for the Liverpool FC
Foundation; the Club's official charity.
Ian Rush made 660 appearances for the Reds scoring 346 goals, while Gary
McAllister featured 87 times scoring 9 goals; firmly establishing themselves
as fans' favourites at Anfield.
Liverpool FC Legend and Club ambassador, Ian Rush commented:- "It was a
great honour to start the Vitality Liverpool ½ Marathon. Seeing thousands of
runners raising money for so many great causes, including the LFC Foundation;
it was really inspiring. Many congratulations to Dejene Gezimu and Michelle
Nolan, those were two incredible finishes."
Liverpool FC Legend and Club ambassador, Gary McAllister added:- "It was
fantastic to be on the start line cheering the runners on. The atmosphere was
electric and it was great to see so many Liverpool FC fans turn out to run the
It was a 24th consecutive race appearance for Stephen Symons; thought to be the
only ever present runner who has taken part in every event in the race's history
since it started in 1994.
Despite suffering from a brain haemorrhage in November 2012, Stephen still
managed his continuous run in March 2013 and took part accompanied by family.
The 51 year old, who runs for Manchester YMCA Harriers Club, clocked a time of
1:57:14; and is already looking forward to taking part in next year's 25th
silver anniversary race.
Alistair Rutherford, aged 21 from Allerton, ran dressed as a viola and set a new
Guinness World Record as the fastest ½ Marathon runner dressed as a musical
The viola student ran in a custom made viola costume and was raising funds for
musical charity Arco. He set a new record with his time of 1:19:32; smashing
the record by 7 minutes 25 seconds.
David Miles ran as a chef carrying a 3.5kg cooking pot and broke the Guinness
World Record as the fastest ½ Marathoner dressed as a chef.
The 53 year old chef lives in Parbold after living in Maghull for many years.
Fundraising for Cancer Research UK, David hoped to smash the 1:40 barrier; he
recorded a time of 1:37:39, beating the record by 9 minutes 46 seconds.
Former Emmerdale and Waterloo Road actor Kurtis Stacey, from Liverpool, took
part in the BTR 10 Mile Road Race to raise funds for the James Bulger Memorial
Trust. He was joined by childhood best friend Craig Macauley.
This was Kurtis and Craig's first race in a year long challenge to complete
seven BTR running events during 2017 to fundraise for the charity. They will be
joined in future races by Milk Tray Man and Cheshire firefighter Patrick
McBride, and Dale Roberts, ambassador of the James Bulger Memorial Trust.
Vitality Liverpool ½ Marathon is organised by BTR Liverpool, the leading
independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race
events across Liverpool City Region. The BTR event portfolio also includes
Liverpool Santa Dash; Mersey Tunnel 10K; Port Sunlight 10K/5K/1K; award winning
Wirral ½ Marathon/10K; 26 mile Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral; and 52 mile Tour
This year marks the 24th staging of the event which began in 1994. Plans are
already underway for next year's 25th Silver Anniversary celebration race;
appropriately being staged on Sunday, 25 March, 2018. Entries opened on Monday, 3 April
2017, with almost 150 runners have registered already.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:- "What an incredible day and
start to the race year for BTR. Thank you to the runners, volunteers and
spectators for making it such a great event. One new course record was set at
last year's Vitality Liverpool ½ Marathon; this time all four course records
This is a huge testament to the quality of running and high standards of the
event; the North West's premier road race. Congratulations Dejene, Michelle,
Mark and Sarah; fantastic running across both races and you've definitely
raised the bar even further.
The race also hosted 2 Guinness World Record attempts. Well done Alistair
Rutherford and David Miles who brought a lot of colour to the event with their
costumes. Great vision from both runners who took on their challenges with real
determination and smashed the records.
Plans are already well underway for the 25th Silver Anniversary race of the
Liverpool ½ Marathon on 25 March 2018. Over 100 runners have already signed
up to be part of the celebrations."
Photos below by Dave Evens - Zanto Digital