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FACT Launches Artist Memberships for Studio / Lab

FACT is pleased to announce the launch of Studio/Lab Artist Memberships, granting access to a brand new space purposefully designed for artists, researchers, curators, and technologists to experiment and play. Memberships offer numerous benefits, including:- access to dynamic and adaptable workspaces, the use of a variety of tech and equipment, free admission to events hosted within Studio / Lab, and mentorship opportunities provided by the FACT team.

Studio/Lab embodies FACT's commitment to nurturing emerging talent and fostering creativity in the North West; serving as a hub for local and regional artists to connect, collaborate, and experiment. Located on the building's top floor, it is a co-working space for creatives whose practice is critically engaged and digitally focused. Equipped with mid to high end equipment, including:- new generation technology and entry-level immersive kits, as well as digital production tools, Studio/Lab can support artists across various digital practices.

Studio/Lab offers a variety of specialised spaces tailored to support the development of artistic practice, facilitate experimentation, and test new ideas. The Sound Studio, complete with microphones, a mixing desk, and sound deadening, provides an ideal environment for:- recording voiceovers, discussions, foley, or live streams. The Project Space is dedicated to hands-on work and can be used for soldering, 3D printing, and small scale technical projects. Membership holders can relax in the Kitchen and Lounge, use flexible workspaces for focus time or meetings, as well as access a large Lab space for events and workshops. In the Digital Library, members will find an extensive collection of resources, including:- books on art, film, and creative technology, along with high-performance PCs equipped with specialised software such as:- Blender, Adobe Creative Suite, Unity, and Unreal 4 and 5. For those working with moving image, there is a Video Studio equipped with the tools needed for:- editing, colour grading, rendering, and exporting.

Ellie Towers, Artist, said:- "As a Liverpool based digital artist, Studio/Lab has become an invaluable resource to me and our creative community. It provides a supportive environment where creatives are empowered to explore. Being the city's 1st accessible dedicated space for critically engaged artists to use digital facilities, Studio/Lab has inspired me to develop new ways of making, using exciting tech like 3D printers and high-powered computers to render and create films. I can't wait to see how this collaborative atmosphere and access to tools will continue to elevate and enrich arts practices within the North West."

In addition to equipment and facilities, Studio / Lab offers a regular programme of events, with free tickets available to members. Events range from masterclasses led by invited artists, filmmakers, and designers, to social gatherings that bring together artists, curators, researchers, and technologists interested in digital art and culture. Workshops are shaped to support the development of technical skills, with focuses including:- sound recording techniques, software tools such as:- Blender, and filmmaking. Members can attend knowledge sharing opportunities with other artists and creatives who have expertise in a wide range of practices, as well as:- community meetings and informal group critiques, providing a nurturing environment for artists to receive and exchange constructive feedback on their works-in-progress.

Studio / Lab Artist Memberships are available through 3 different options:- Flexi, Full, and Pay As You Go. The Flexi membership provides access to Studio/Lab facilities on a part time basis, complete with benefits such as:- the use of equipment and tools, the option to attend artist development sessions, invitations to exclusive events, and tea and coffee.

The Full membership option offers members increased access to Studio/Lab facilities, alongside an array of premium benefits such as personalised consultations with the FACT team, discounted rates for venue hire, and the option to split membership costs and privileges with a fellow artist. Lastly, the Pay As You Go membership offers an alternative for those who wish to use the space for co-working on an ad-hoc basis, allowing for the use of Studio/Lab's spaces without the commitment of a monthly or annual membership, ideal for visiting artists or those seeking greater flexibility.

For further information, please visit:- FACT.Co.UK.

St Patrick's Day Attracts 7,900 Runners To Liverpool For Double Race Day
Photographs by by Erica Dillon

THE biggest half marathon to take place in Liverpool since 2013 attracted 7,350 runners on:- St Patrick's Day (Sunday, 17 March 2024).

The event featured the 30th anniversary BTR Liverpool Half Marathon and ninth staging of the BTR Liverpool 10 Mile Road Race, which also attracted 520 competitors. Both races attracted a combined total of almost 7,900 finishers on the day.

Entries closed 3 weeks ahead of race day; a 1st for the event. The combined final number of runners finishing the races saw a 3,600 increase on last year's figures.

The event saw new male and female 10 mile course records being set; by the same running club.

Managed and delivered by independent race event organiser BTR Liverpool, this was the 1st event in a busy event portfolio for 2024. Next up is the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on Sunday 14 April, more than 1,500 runners have already registered.

First staged in 1994, the half marathon is highly regarded as 1 of the Region's longest established premier road races in the Region and is a highlight in the North West race calendar. It also attracts participants from across the country and globally.

To mark the race falling on St Patrick's Day; BTR Liverpool literally ran away with the green and black theme extending it to race numbers, T-shirts, medals, and hoodies.

The date of next year's race has been announced as:- Sunday, 23 March 2025. Entries are open; and 150 runners have already registered.

Both races started and finished on Pier Head Liverpool on the City's world famous waterfront alongside the iconic 3 Graces:- The Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port Of Liverpool Building.

Loughran School Of Irish Dance from Liverpool welcomed runners to the start line as the runners began gathering.

Liverpool drumming band Batala Mersey gave runners a loud send-off as they crossed the start line, before spurring runners on to the home straight.

The BTR Liverpool Half Marathon was won by Matt Crehan from St Helens Sutton AC in 1 hour 8 minutes 5 seconds. Matt took third place last year. This year he not only moved up 2 podium places; but he also knocked 39 seconds off last year's time.

The male half marathon course record remains in tact. It was set by Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers & AC in 2017 with 1 hour 5 minutes and 52 seconds.

Second place was Ian Lawton representing Prime Triathlon Coaching in 1 hour 8 minutes 18 seconds. Ian won the half marathon in 2023. Third place was Harry Lupton from Charnwood AC in 1 hour 10 minutes 6 seconds.

First place finisher in the half marathon was Fay Hughes representing Wirral AC in 1 hour 21 minutes 49 seconds.

The female half marathon course record remains in tact. It was set last year by Caroline Brenchley with a time of 1 hour 17 minutes 54 seconds. She beat the previous record set in 2017.

Second place was Isabelle Jones in 1 hour 22 minutes 7 seconds. Third place was taken by Niamh Donnelly from Liverpool Harriers & AC in 1 hour 22 minutes 37 seconds. Niamh was second place last year – but this time took 7 seconds off her time.

The BTR Liverpool 10 Mile Road Race was won by Alistair Rutherford from Liverpool Harriers & AC in a time of 51 minutes 56 seconds. He set a new 10-mile course record by 27 seconds.

The previous record by set by fellow Liverpool Harriers & AC club member Stephen Campbell in 2022 with a time of 52 minutes 23 seconds. Stephen also won last year's 10 miler.

Second place Sam Stratford from HI Runners in 54 minutes 42 seconds. Third place was Bradley Williams from Wallasey AC in 55 minutes 34 seconds.

There was a second top podium place for Liverpool Harriers & AC with first place female in the 10-miler being Rachael Burns in 59 minutes 2 seconds. Rachael also set a new female 10-mile course record by 5 minutes and 59 seconds.

The previous record was set last year by Sarah Carroll from Salford Harriers with a time of 1 hour 5 minutes 1 second.

Second place female was Kelly Hamilton representing St Helens Striders in 1 hour 5 minutes 9 seconds. Third place was Joanne Stanfield from Trentham RC in 1 hour 7 minutes 44 seconds.

All 12 runners who placed were presented with a trophy and prize money.

The 4 overall winners:- Matt, Fay, Alistair, and Rachael; were also presented with a bottle of limited edition Runners Gin.

Runners Gin was produced by Liverpool based Turncoat Distillery in partnership with BTR, as a commemorative item to mark the 30th Anniversary of the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon and label artwork mirrors the race theme.

Runners Gin is a London Dry style gin with an ABV of 40% made in the heart of Liverpool. It is limited to just 200 bottles. Runners can also opt to have their finishing time engraved on their bottle. Full details and online ordering can be found at:- WeAreTurnCoat.Com.

The race routes took runners through the City and onto Sefton Park, taking in sights along the way including:- Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Liverpool Cathedral, and Museum Of Liverpool.

Before returning along Otterspool Prom to Pier Head Liverpool for a grandstand finish line under the gaze of the City's iconic Liver Birds; the perfect backdrop to be presented with a finishers' medal.

This year's BTR Liverpool charity partners for the 2024 event portfolio are:- Alder Hey Children's Charity; Claire House Children's Hospice; Clatterbridge Cancer Charity; Liverpool Women's Hospital Charity; Mersey Cares; North West Air Ambulance; Wirral University Teaching Hospital; and Zoe's Place Baby Hospice. All 8 charities were represented on the day by runners or volunteer teams.

Jamie Doolan from Liverpool and Stephen Symons from Manchester have taken part in all 31 Liverpool Half Marathon events. Last year, BTR Liverpool gifted Jamie and Stephen race entry for life.

Jamie is a 53-year-old nurse from Broadgreen. He has completed more than 30 marathons – no mean feat after being told he would struggle to walk due to a problem with his legs at birth. He went on to have them straightened with splints, then aged 21 had pins inserted to strengthen his right ankle.

58 year old Stephen runs for Quays Running Club in Manchester. Despite suffering a brain haemorrhage in November 2012, he still completed the next half marathon race in March 2013 accompanied by family. He has since fully recovered and continues to take part each year.

Organiser BTR Liverpool extended its thanks to volunteer teams who helped on the day with important tasks including pacing, water stations, T-shirts, medals, post race goodies. Volunteer teams included Dockside Runners; GoodGym Liverpool; Knowsley Harriers; 2-Step, members of the Merseyside running community; and Merseyside Army Cadet Force.

Origins Sport Massage offered runners pre and post event treatment supported by Sports Rehabilitation BSC students from Hope University. Donations were made to Teddies For Loving Care, a charity which buys teddy bears for Hospital A&E departments to gift to young patients. A total of £620 was raised through donations on the day; £10 buys 5 bears so a very generous effort.

This year's international runners are travelling from:- Australia, Brazil, Channel Islands, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Isle Of Man, Italy, Jersey, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, The States, Uzbekistan, and Wales.

Many running clubs pulled on their club colours for the occasion, with the following taking the largest numbers:- Alive Fitness, Dockside Runners, Kirkby Milers AC, Liverpool Running Bugs, Liverpool Running Club, Marsh Lane Harriers, Mersey Tri, North Endurance, Penny Lane Striders, and Widnes RC.

Senior runner 86 year old John Courtney, from Liverpool, ran the half marathon while guiding his blind son James. Together they have completed more than 110 half marathons.

Former Royal Marine Commando Andy Grant took part in the half marathon. He lost a leg during a tour in Afghanistan. He now wears a blade to run and won Gold Medals at the Invictus Games 2014. In 2016, Andy set a World Record as the fastest single leg amputee over 10K. He has since gone on to write a book, hosts a podcast, and is an inspirational speaker.

Also completing the half marathon was mixed martial artist UFC Strawweight 'Meatball' Molly McCann. Molly ran with friends from the Baltic Market for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. Molly is also fundraising for her friend Ryan Curtis, who was paralysed while training in January.

Nova Scotia at Mann Island and sister venue Ma Boyle's, off Water Street, supported the event by opening early for runners and spectators. And there was a colourful stall from Big Bobble Hats.

The BTR event portfolio for 2024 includes:- further milestone anniversaries and the return of an old favourite; the Women's 10K Liverpool in September.

Celebrations continue with the 20th Anniversary BTR Liverpool Santa Dash, on:- Sunday, 1 December; and 10th Anniversary BTR Tour Of Merseyside, a 7 day challenge of 6 races covering 52 miles starting on:- Sunday, 30 June. The 10th staging of community legacy Run For The 97 5K is on Saturday 18 May; and a decade of Port Sunlight Road Race 10K and 5K on Sunday, 9 June, as well as 15K dual race. The BTR Wirral 10K on:- Sunday, 13 October; and BTR brings back the Women's 10K Liverpool on:- Sunday, 1 September.

The man at the helm of BTR is Liverpool-born Race Director Alan Rothwell, who has been involved with the Liverpool Half Marathon from the very start; as a runner in 1994 when it was known as the Liverpool International Half Marathon.

He later got involved in an official capacity; and now the race is owned, organised, and delivered by his company BTR Liverpool; which stands for Born To Run.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell explained:- "The 2024 BTR event calendar is now underway! This year's 30th anniversary event exceeded all expectations we ever had for the milestone celebrations. A big thank you to 7,900 runners and the thousands of spectators who came out on the day to line the route and cheer on their friends and family. A huge jump in demand and the day's incredible atmosphere, as well as a wave of green and black T-shirt spilling out from the Pier Head to continue the St Patrick's Day celebrations across the City really did make the day a real highlight in the history of BTR Liverpool. A genuine thank you to our volunteer teams:- Dockside Runners; GoodGym Liverpool; Knowsley Harriers; 2-Step, members of the Merseyside running community; and Merseyside Army Cadet Force; who did an incredible day. They make a massive difference on the day. Entries are already open for next year's BTR Liverpool Half Marathon on Sunday 23 March 2025. Almost 200 very keen runners have already signed up with over a year to go. Next is the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on 14 April 2024. Join us for this brilliant race; the only time you can run through the historic Kingsway Tunnel."

For more details visit:- BTRLiverpool.Com.

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