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Unique race is only chance to run under the River Mersey
Photographs by Erica Dillon (BTR)


THE atmosphere was electric in Liverpool and Wirral at the weekend for the 18th staging of the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K. A field of 2,000 runners completed Sunday's race was held on:- Saturday, 14 April 2024, with numbers considerably up on last year's figure of 1,200 finishers.

The point to point race is the only time throughout the year when people can make their way through the Kingsway Tunnel on foot; while at the same time running under the River Mersey which runs between Liverpool and Wirral.

The Mersey Tunnel 10K returned to the North West running calendar in 2006 at the request of Mersey Tunnels, with BTR Liverpool taking on the mantle to organise and deliver the event.

The race started in Liverpool City Centre before runners headed into the Kingsway Tunnel. After emerging on the Wirral, runners then made their way along Seacombe Promenade to Fort Perch Rock and Marine Lake.

The finish line was on Ian Fraser Walk in New Brighton; providing the perfect backdrop to collect their finishers' medal and technical fabric running T-shirt.

Fondly known locally as the:- 'new tunnel,' the Kingsway Tunnel was opened on:- 24 June 1971, by the late Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II.

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing, and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region.

Since the race was reintroduced in 2006, it has taken place each year with the exception of 2020 when there was a break of almost 2½ years between races, due to the Pandemic.

Post Pandemic, the race was staged in September both in:- 2021 and 2022. Back in 2023 the race returned to its popular Spring date. The numbers for the 2024 race are the highest Post Covid.

The BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K 2024 was won by:- Ian Lawton, from:- Prime Triathlon Coaching, with a time of:- 31 minutes 40 seconds. This is the 2nd BTR podium place of 2024 for Ian, who came 2nd in the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon only last month.

2nd place was:- Paul Howard, from:- St Helens Striders in:- 32 minutes 20 seconds, with:- Francois Rafferty, from:- Southport Waterloo AC, in 3rd place with:- 35 minutes 23 seconds.

The current BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K race record still stands at 30 minutes 52 seconds, set in 2016 by Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers AC.

1st place female was Kirsty Longley, from:- Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers AC, who did it in:- 37 minutes 51 seconds. The female record still stands at:- 36 minutes 19 seconds, which was previously set by Kirsty, in 2019.

2nd place was:- Lisa Gawthorne, from:- Vegan Runners, in:- 39 minutes 32 seconds, in 3rd place was:- Heather Hatton, in:- 41 minutes 34 seconds.

The race also included 2 wheelchair participants:- Wirral's Sarah Benyon, and Chester's Roger Mercer.

The 8 BTR Liverpool charity partners for the 2024 event portfolio were represented by runners and volunteers:- 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.

This year overseas runners took part from:- Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, and the USA.


Local running clubs with the largest numbers taking part included:- Birkenhead Park Running Club, Knowsley Harriers AC, Liverpool Running Club, Mikkeller Running Club, Penny Lane Striders, Rimrose Runners, and Wallasey AC.

The day's most senior runners were:- Pat Wright, aged:- 76, from:- Wirral, Michael Murphy, aged 81, from:- Liverpool; Ron Thorton, aged:- 83, from:- Crosby, and Philip Humphreys, aged:- 85, from Ellesmere Port.

Organisers BTR Liverpool were supported on the day by volunteer teams from:- Birkenhead Park Running Club, Claire House Children's Hospice, Clatterbridge Cancer Charity, Liverpool Running Bugs, North West Air Ambulance, alongside runners from the Merseyside running community.

A team of 16 Armed Forces veterans from Liverpool, Wirral, and Sefton took part to raise funds for Liverpool based:- The Block - Armed Forces Foundation homeless prevention project. The group have already raised £3,700! The charity is aimed at helping local ex-forces in times of crisis, helping them transition back into civilian life, along with mental health support. Find out more at:- TheBlockAFF.Org. Former Paratrooper Colin Eastaway from Liverpool is:- 'Chief Executive Officer of The Block - Armed Forces Foundation,' and is one of the charity's founders. He served with the Special Forces Support Group, and did multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He brought the group together for the event. The group carried equipment and completed the route through a traditional military style exercise called speed march, or Tactical Advance to Battle (TAB). They were led by former Paratrooper physical training instructor and founder of Tactical Athlete programme coach Mike Chadwick.


Colin explained:- “The team absolutely loved marching through the Kingsway Tunnel. What a fantastic experience. And it was really good for them to come together and raise funds for a charity close to them. Some of the guys have already been supported by The Block, so they felt it was important to give something back to help their Armed Forces colleagues who may need help in the future. We'd like to say thank you to BTR Liverpool for supporting us with our efforts, as well as the runners and spectators who gave us plenty of cheers along the way. It meant a lot to us all.”

The Block Crowdfunder is being run through Aviva Community Fund and will be match-funded. Donate at:- AvivaCommunityFund.Co.UK.

Entries are already open for neat year's BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K, on:- Sunday, 13 April 2025.

Next in the BTR portfolio are:- Run For The 97 5K and 1 Mile, in Stanley Park, on:- Saturday, 18 May 2024, followed by the:- Port Sunlight Road Race 5K, 10K and 1K Fun Run, on:- Sunday, 9 June 2024.

Full details and online entry can be found online at:-

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