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Mersey Tunnel 10K race sees 2,000 runners take part

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 (14 April) – with numbers considerably up on last year’s figure of 1,200 finishers.

Mersey Tunnel 10K race sees 2,000 runners take part

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 two-and-a-half-years between races due to the pandemic.

Post-pandemic, the race was staged in September both in 2021 and 2022. Last year 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 second BTR podium place of 2024 for Ian, who came second in the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon only last month.

Second place was Paul Howard from St Helens Striders in 32 minutes 20 seconds, with Francois Rafferty from Southport Waterloo AC in third 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.

First place female was Kirsty Longley from Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers AC in 37 minutes 51 seconds. The female record still stands at 36 minutes 19 seconds, which was previously set by Kirsty in 2019.

Second place was Lisa Gawthorne from Vegan Runners in 39 minutes 32 seconds, in third place was Heather Hatton in 41 minutes 34 seconds.

The race also included two wheelchair participants, Sarah Benyon from Wirral and Roger Mercer from Chester.

The eight 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, 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 https://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 https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/p/cost-of-living-crisis-and-homelessness-prevention

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, followed by the Port Sunlight Road Race 5K, 10K and 1K Fun Run on Sunday 9 June.

Full details and online entry can be found at www.btrliverpool.com

READ MORE: ST PATRICK’S DAY ATTRACTS 7,900 RUNNERS FOR LIVERPOOL HALF MARATHON

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