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Runners gear up for 10th Port Sunlight Road Race

Port Sunlight Road Race returns next weekend, and almost 1,000 runners have already signed up to take part in the 5K and 10K races, including a team of 80 from headline sponsor Unilever.

The race returned last year after a three-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2023 gathering marks the 10th staging of the event.

First staged in 2012, the Port Sunlight Road Race is well established in the region’s race calendar. It is also the most significant event in the Port Sunlight calendar, attracting thousands of runners and spectators to enjoy the stunning setting.

Port Sunlight Road Race 2023 is on Sunday 11 June. The 5K starts at 10am, followed by the 10K race at 11am. Once the 10K runners have cleared the course, the 1K Fun Run for youngsters aged 12 and under will start.

Final entries are being taken for the 10K here.

The 5K takes runners along the tree-lined boulevards and perfectly manicured gardens of the historic Port Sunlight village. The 10K follows two laps of the 5K route. The races start and finish at the village green next to Port Sunlight Museum.

More than 200 runners have also registered to take part in the dual race challenge. After completing the 5K, they will go on to run the 10K – they will collect a third medal to mark their achievements.

The event is organised and delivered by independent race organiser BTR Liverpool in conjunction with Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT).

Unilever is supporting the event as headline sponsor for the eighth consecutive year.

Port Sunlight is Unilever’s historic UK home, created by one of the company founders William Lever to provide his Sunlight Soap factory workers with decent, affordable houses.

Unilever today continues to have world class manufacturing, research and development (R&D), and IT facilities based in Port Sunlight. Unilever’s brands – including Persil, Dove, Tresemme, Radox, Comfort and Surf – can be found in 98% of households in the UK.

A group of 80 runners from Unilever, appropriately named the Sunlight Runners, will take part in the 5K or 10K races.

Runners from the group have taken part in the event since it was first staged in the village. The group were invited to launch this year’s Port Sunlight Road Race and officially unveil this year’s medals.

Sunlight Runners formed 15 years ago and is made up of staff from across the Unilever Port Sunlight sites who meet twice weekly to train. As well as the village, routes also take in Port Sunlight River Park, the old railway line cycle trail to Bromborough, Storeton Woods, and Lever Causeway.

Matthew Thomas has taken on the mantle of Sunlight Runners President and co-ordinates the group’s activities. He explained:

We encourage and promote running across the entire Unilever Port Sunlight site, including the factory and R&D laboratory. Over the years we have welcomed many to our ranks, from experienced runners to those taking up the sport for the first time. Some of our more experienced runners have gone on to complete half marathons and the London Marathon.

“We recently helped 100 runners graduate from the Couch To 5K programme, many had not run before. The health benefits are fantastic – grandparents now keeping up with their grandchildren, an ex-smoker now running a 5K with no issues. They are huge achievements. Many now make Birkenhead Park parkrun a regular fixture in their diaries.

“Sunlight Runners continue to bring colleagues together for social and fitness which supports the Unilever wellbeing and sustainability culture. We’re looking forward to pulling on our trainers and Unilever running tops to take part in this year’s Port Sunlight Road Race – it promises to be a great day for the team, and the next time we hold those medals is when we’ve all earned them.”

Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight, added:

“Unilever is delighted to sponsor the Port Sunlight Road Race and help to celebrate its 10th year. At Unilever we believe physical and mental wellbeing together with inclusion are crucial to good health.

“Continuing to support the event is a fantastic way to demonstrate our commitment to that belief, while also showcasing our historic home of Port Sunlight to visitors. Good luck to everyone taking part – including the 80 runners from Unilever Port Sunlight.”

Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT) is an independent charity and custodian of Port Sunlight, an exemplar worker village created to support the wellbeing and productivity of the Lever Brothers soap works employees and their families. 

As custodian, PSVT works with important stakeholders to protect the heritage, ensure a great quality of life for people, and promote understanding of Port Sunlight’s global value and relevance.

Runners are encouraged to return to the village and visit the Port Sunlight Experience and explore the Museum, Edwardian Worker’s Cottage, and SoapWorks. They can enjoy free entry by showing their race number, the offers runs to 1 December 2023.

Paul Harris, Chief Executive of Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT), commented:

“The Road Race is one of the biggest events in Port Sunlight’s calendar and I’m delighted to see it returning to the village for its 10th edition. It’s always wonderful to see the streets lined with runners, supporters, and village residents cheering on everyone. We’d like to give a big thank you to Unilever Port Sunlight for once again being the headline sponsor for this year’s Road Race and giving their support to the village.”

BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell said:

“We are delighted to host the Port Sunlight Road Race 2023 – it has to be one of the most stunning settings for a running event in our region. The support of the Port Sunlight community is second to none. Final entries for the 10K are being taken so don’t miss out being part of this fantastic family event. Families can register for the 1K Fun Run on the morning at the village green.”

READ MORE: Run For The 97 sees more than 700 participants walk, jog or run to remember

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