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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-09-09

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Runners get on their marks for hat trick of races across Wirral

THIS Sunday, 10 September 2017, will see the award winning BTR Wirral ½ Marathon and 10K return for a 5th consecutive year. While runners keen to take on more of a challenge will be competing in the 3rd Annual 26 mile Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral. The Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral is a series of 3 races staged over 3 days, Friday, 8 September 2017 to Sunday, 10 September 2017.  The event will take runners across various distances and terrain in 3 different Wirral locations. The BTR Wirral ½ Marathon and 10K was named as Event Of The Year 2015 at the Wirral Tourism Awards; and this year it returns with a slight change to the route.

Due to extensive ongoing works near the 4 Bridges in Birkenhead, this year's BTR Wirral ½ Marathon and 10K will have a combined start and finish area in New Brighton, the previous race start was in Birkenhead Park. The dual race starts at 9.30am on Sunday. The works mean a change to the 1st 3 miles of the ½ marathon and 10K race routes.

After setting off from Coastal Drive at New Brighton, the runners will head out along the promenade to Seacombe Ferry, before heading back to New Brighton. They will follow the course as in previous years by passing Fort Perch Rock, and heading along Ian Fraser Walk to the clown roundabout. The 10K runners will then return to Coastal Drive to finish, while the ½ marathon runners will continue towards the Leasowe Lighthouse before also returning to Coastal Drive. The events have attracted participants from Scotland, Norway and the United States of America.

The events are organised by Hoylake based BTR, the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region. Its growing portfolio includes the BTR Liverpool ½ Marathon; BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K; and BTR Liverpool Santa Dash. BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:- "Good luck to everyone taking part in this weekend's hat-trick of Wirral races. The locations offer participants diverse and challenging running terrains set against impressive scenery, and last year we saw impressive performances across all 3 races. Due to the ongoing road works at Birkenhead, we have had to revise the 1st 3 miles which means that for the 1st in this event we have a combined start and finish line area. I'd encourage people to come along and cheer on the runners, that vital support will help carry them through their races and to the finish line."

The Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral officially starts at 7pm on Friday at Arrowe Park with a 5 mile off road race. This is followed the next morning, at 10am, with 8 miles of  challenging multi terrain, at Thurstaston Country Park, Thurstaston Beach and the Wirral Way. The 3rd race in the series is the Wirral ½ Marathon on the Sunday morning, when the Wirral Tourists join the main field of runners.  The 2017's Whistle Stop event will be hotly contested with last year's top 3 male and female finishers returning to again take on the challenge; Mark Dunham, Terry Forrest, Alan Kennedy, Carmel Triggs, Fiona Cook and Jen Adams.

Last year's 1st place 10K male and female finishers are also returning to defend their titles. Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers AC is hoping to achieve a consecutive hat trick.

Kirsty Longley from Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers; who last year set a new female course record in 35:32; has already won the BTR Wirral 10K 3 times, having taken the honours in 2013, 2015 and 2016. in 2016, Kirsty knocked 46 2nds off her winning time from her previous fastest 1st place finish in 2015. The weekend's most senior runners are 70 year old, Paul Rylance and 69 year old, Pat Wright, in the Whistle Stop Tour; while 80 year old, Ronnie Jones and 72 year old, Moira Hutchinson will both run in the 10K

The official event charity is Claire House Children's Hospice, which has bases in Wirral and Liverpool. The charity will be present with a volunteer team giving out medals. The team will also be on-hand at the start and finish line area with information about fundraising for Claire House. There will be ½ marathon pacers for:- 1:30, 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:10, 2:20 and 2:30 finish times. All finishers across the 3 races will receive a bespoke commemorative medal, T-shirt and goody bag.


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