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Runners take on the 52 mile Tour Of Merseyside
Photos by Paul Francis Cooper.

A group of 400 runners have taken part in the 52 mile BTR Tour Of Merseyside and have also taken part in a 5 mile fancy dress race, in Otterspool, Thursday, 4 July 2019! This is the 7th consecutive year for the endurance event, which comprises 6 races across 7 days covering 52 miles. The BTR Tour Of Merseyside (TOM) was created by BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell. 1st staged in 2013, the unique race has gone on to become a real highlight in the North West running calendar. Once completed, competitors collect the coveted:- '52 Commemorative Finishers Medal' and have the right to call themselves a Tourist!

The TOM consists of 6 races of varying distances and terrain across Liverpool City Region, with races staged in areas of Sefton, Wirral, Liverpool and Knowsley. The runners have already covered 29 miles, having completed Southport ½ Marathon, that took place on Sunday, 30 June 2019, where the runners were guests of Epic Events. Then on Monday, 1 July 2019 they ran 6 miles along Thurstaston Beach and trail terrain, followed by 10 miles on the Sustrans Loopline, in Walton, on Tuesday, 2 July 2019.  Runners then had a rest day, ½ way through the week, on Wednesday, 3 July 2019 with just 3 races left in the BTR Tour Of Merseyside 2019 ahead of them.

Then on Thursday, 4 July 2019, the aspiring Tourists ran 5 miles along the Liverpool Waterfront, at Otterspool Promenade. This was the shortest race distance of the week and previous Tourists have now adopted this race as:- 'Fancy Dress Day' which always helps to give the runners a lift at this stage of the race. The challenge concluded with 6 miles cross country, at Stadt Moers, Knowsley, on Friday, 5 July 2019.  With just 1 event to go, the final 12 miles along the Wirral Coast, on Saturday, 6 July 2019, we would ask that readers who are within that area, to cheer them on to the finish. The final race will see the runners set off from New Brighton, at 10am and head towards Hoylake, with 1 mile across the Beach, and return to New Brighton.  After completing the final race, the Tourists will receive the much sought after:- '52 commemorative finishers' medal and a bespoke T-shirt featuring the names of the 2019 Tourists. Tourists then mark their achievement at a celebration event in Liverpool, which includes a prize presentation and special Tour Of Merseyside video, featuring specially recorded footage from each race day.

During its inaugural year in 2013, a modest 73 runners completed the Tour Of Merseyside. This year's field includes 15 ever present Tourists, who have taken part in all previous 6 TOM races, including just 3 women; who are now hoping to collect their 7th TOM medal.  Local clubs flying the flag with the most team runners include:- Penny Lane Striders, BTR Road Runners, Knowsley Harriers, Liverpool Running Club, Warrington RC, and St Helens Striders. This year's participants also include runners who have travelled from the Isle of Man, Norway and Thailand especially to take part. Hoylake based race organisers BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region. The BTR event portfolio also includes the:- BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K, Port Sunlight Road Race 5K and 10K; and BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:- "The BTR Tour Of Merseyside 2019 is just 1 of the many events we run and this year's event is already shaping up to be another incredible year. The camaraderie grows before your eyes with each race, which is what makes the Tour truly unique and special.  It's has really been a  tough, tiring week for the runners. The aspiring Tourists are juggling work and home life along with the preparation for a daily race, so everyone is doing amazing and really throwing themselves into the Tour. The atmosphere is electric and the smiles speak for themselves. I'd encourage spectators to come along and cheer on the Tourists, support really does go a long way in getting you over the finish line."

Vitality Netball World Cup Fan Park heads to Chavasse Park
Photos supplied by Netball World Cup

Hey Jude!: Official Vitality Netball World Cup mascot Jude checks out Chavasse Park © Netball World Cup

WITH just days to go until the whistle blows to start the Vitality Netball World Cup, plans have been unveiled for an official fan zone at Chavasse Park, Liverpool ONE. The green space will be the home of the Fan Park, and throughout the competition, that takes place over 12 July to 21 July 2019, it will be a hive of activity and a great way to soak up the World Cup atmosphere.

Clare Balding said:- "I'm delighted and excited to be part of the Vitality Netball World Cup and Liverpool's RISE programme and look forward to sharing my experiences, to encourage and motivate more young women to think about a career in sport.  With Liverpool hosting the Vitality Netball World Cup, it's the perfect opportunity to see brilliantly passionate teams of women at the top of their game, and we can use this to kick start a conversation about what can be achieved by women from every sector of society, and every part of the country."

Free to enter, visitors will be able to watch the match action streamed live on a giant screen, take part in our netball activities and enjoy an exciting programme of music and entertainment.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "For 10 days netball fever is going to take over the City. We wanted to create an area for those fans without match tickets to come together and feel part of the action and there is an exciting mix of music, dance, workshops and of course netball, to keep people entertained. We're delighted to have big names like Clare Balding involved; she is a legendary name in the sporting world and a real ambassador for women in sports and it will be fascinating to hear her talk about her experience."

Programmed by Culture Liverpool; the City Council's award winning team of event experts:- samba bands, dance performances and workshops, DJs, film screenings, choirs and even a number of stars from the sporting world to descend on the Fan Park. 

Broadcaster, journalist and author Clare Balding will be1 of the well known faces to be involved in a special Q&A on the final day. Clare will talk about her award-winning career, its highlights and any advice she would give to both men and women who are looking to follow in her footsteps. The free talk will form part of the City's RISE programme which celebrates extraordinary women.

Donna Howitt, Marketing Director at Liverpool ONE, said:- "We're absolutely thrilled to be hosting the official Fan Park for the Vitality Netball World Cup and we cannot wait for the action to kick off in just over a week. The Fan Park will be the perfect place for fans to soak up the atmosphere and watch the games live on the giant screen, show off their skills on the pop up netball court, try out the assault course and climbing wall and hang out with the tournament's official mascot, Jude the Bird.  Netball is 1 of the UK's fastest growing team sports, so we're incredibly proud to be part of the buzz; we're looking forward to cheering on England's Roses and welcoming fans from across the world."

A number of appearances will also be made from elite, international netball players throughout the 10 days. And don't forget the official mascot Jude will be a frequent visitor and will be selfie ready at all times. 

Full details of the Fan Park programme can be found at:- CultureLiverpool.Co.UK.  For more information about the Vitality Netball World Cup, which takes place at the M&S Bank Arena, visit:- NWC2019.Co.UK. Please note although entry is free to the Fan Park, space will be limited.

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