This Sunday (26 March) the BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon returns for the milestone 30th staging of the race, with a staggering 5,100 runners gearing up to take on the city centre challenge.
The event is highly regarded as one of the region’s premier road races, the event is managed and delivered by Merseyside-based independent race event organiser BTR Liverpool.
The 13.1-mile BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon event also includes the 8th annual BTR Liverpool 10 Mile Road Race.
The both races will start at 9am from Pier Head Liverpool on the city’s world-famous waterfront alongside the iconic Three Graces – Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port Of Liverpool Building.
Runners are advised to remember that the clocks go forward the night before the race.
Both race routes start and finish at Pier Head Liverpool, winding their way through the city and onto Sefton Park, taking in the sights along the way. A grandstand finish on the world-famous waterfront comes under the gaze of the city’s iconic Liver Birds.
The event kick-starts a busy 2023 race calendar for BTR Liverpool, which will see three of its headline events reaching major milestones during the year.
This year’s overall event campaign is dubbed as 30/20/10 – 30 Years, A Life On The Run, and focuses on the hat-trick of key events.
Alongside the 30th BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon, this year also marks the 20th BTR Liverpool Santa Dash on 3 December, and 10th BTR Tour Of Merseyside – a seven-day 52-mile challenge – from 25 June to 1 July.
First staged in 1994, the half marathon is one of the longest established races in the region and is a highlight in the North West race calendar, as well as attracting participants from across the country.
In 2020, the race was rebranded to BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon to celebrate the city’s strong tourism offer. Famous landmarks along the route include Liverpool Cathedral, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Sefton Park, and Museum Of Liverpool.
European sports brand 361º have partnered with BTR Liverpool for the event, in what promises to be an exciting year for both parties. With a brand new range of running shoes – including the all-new Centauri – 361º is encouraging BTR participants to ‘do more’ in 2023.
The team will welcome runners and showcase the new range in conjunction with retailer Natterjack Running. Visit https://361europe.com/pages/centuari
Two runners Stephen Symons and Jamie Doolan are gearing up to take part in their 30th BTR Liverpool Half Marathon event – having both completed all previous 29 events.
Fifty-seven-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.
Jamie Doolan is also a race ever present. The 52-year-old nurse from Broadgreen has also completed 33 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.
It will also be a special day for two pairs of friends, who will each be attempting to set new Guinness World Records.
Martin Pritchard-Howarth and Branwell Spencer, who both live on the Wirral, are consultants at Wirral University Teaching Hospital. They are attempting to set new records firstly in the Liverpool Half Marathon and then later in April at the London Marathon as being the fastest in a 3D plant costume, dressed as sunflowers. Martin already holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon runner dressed as a mountaineer. They are fundraising for equal rights for the disabled charity Scope, and have already raised £2,000.
While old school friends Max Chambers and Joe Gordon, both aged 22 and from Crosby, are attempting to set a new male record for the fastest half marathon in a two-person costume. Their Cool Runnings themed costume will be based on the Jamaican bobsled team from the film of the same name.
As part of its commitment to community engagement, BTR Liverpool has invited Fans Supporting Foodbanks to collect food donations at the event. Runners and spectators are encouraged to drop off items at the charity’s van which will be parked at the Pier Head near the start line.
Donations currently needed include milk (UHT or powdered), cereal, tinned fish, instant mash potato, fruit squash or cordial, teabags, coffee, tinned meat, tinned soup, packet noodles, tinned vegetables, tinned rice pudding or custard, curry or pasta sauce, rice, tinned fruit, jam, biscuits, snack bars, sweets, dry pasta sauce, toiletries, and washing-up liquid.
Charity partners include Alder Hey Children’s Charity, Claire House Children’s Hospice, North West Air Ambulance, and Wirral University Teaching Hospital.
Many local running clubs will be pulling on their club colours to take part, with the following groups bringing along the largest number of team runners on the day – Alive Fitness in Crosby, Dockside Runners, Liverpool Running Club, Kirkby Milers AC, Marsh Lane Harriers in Bootle, MerseyTri, Northwich Running Club in Cheshire, and Penny Lane Striders.
The race has always proved popular with overseas competitors, with an increase once again following relaxed travel post Covid.
This year international runners are travelling from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Isle Of Man, Italy, Jersey, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Republic Of Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United States of America.
BTR Liverpool is keen to highlight the volunteer teams helping on the day with important tasks including water stations, medals, T-shirts, and post race goodies – these include Dockside Runners, Everton in the Community, GoodGym Liverpool, Liverpool Running Bugs, Knowsley Harriers, as well as local army cadets and members of the Merseyside running community.
Runners to also highlight include:
- A team of 31 from Everton Football Club as part of its commitment to health and wellbeing;
- A group of 10 from North Belfast Harriers taking part for the first time;
- Nine from DWF Law in Liverpool also their first outing in the race;
- Six runners representing Paul’s Place at Beacon Counselling Trust in Liverpool raising funds for its suicide bereavement support programme;
- A team of 20 from Merseyrail who have already raised more than £5,500 for charity Parkinson’s.
Gareth Jones from Formby is on course to complete an epic 85-day challenge with the half marathon. On 1 January he started running at least 5K a day, and when he completes the race he will have reached an overall total of 520K – equating to over 20 marathons. He has already raised £4,250 for charity Action For Pulmonary Fibrosis in memory of his Dad Robert ‘Bob’ Jones, who suddenly passed away from the illness in May last year just six weeks before Gareth’s wedding.
Senior runners taking part in the half marathon are aged 73 to 85-years-old; while the 10-mile runners are represented by seniors aged 73 to 76-years-old.
These include 85-year-old John Courtney from Liverpool, who will be running the half marathon while guiding his blind son James. Together they have completed more than 110 half marathons.
Liverpool drumming band Batala Mersey will once again be spurring on runners with their live entertainment.
Continuing its support, The Gym Group at Liverpool ONE offer runners a free one day pass valid on race day to use the changing and shower facilities.
Relish Café Bar – located on the ground floor of the Royal Liver Building – will be open from 8am onwards for runners and spectators. Entrance is on The Strand city side. Hot drinks, cakes, and sandwiches will be available.
BTR Liverpool creates, manages, and delivers running events across Liverpool City Region. Its extensive portfolio covers various distances across different terrains, all with an ongoing commitment to sustainability.
Alongside the hat-trick of anniversary events, the 2023 portfolio also includes BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on 16 April; Run For The 97 5K/1 Mile on 27 May; Port Sunlight Road Race 10K/5K/1K Fun Run on 11 June; Winter Series 5K Fun Run spanning Autumn Leaves on 24 September, Bonfire Blast on 5 November, Winter’s Trail on 31 December; and Grinch 5K Fun Run on 17 December. This year also sees the return of the BTR Wirral 10K on 15 October. Entries are open for the full programme of events.
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.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell explained:
“I took part in the very first 1994 Liverpool International Half Marathon, as it was then known, and met organisers Bill Sergeant and Jim Ross. It was a chance meeting and they asked me to get involved. Fast forward to the present day, the race is owned, organised, and delivered by BTR Liverpool – which stands for Born To Run. Very appropriate.
“This is a momentous and inspiring year for BTR Liverpool and our runners – those new to our races and others who have been loyal over the years. We have milestone anniversaries for three events and they couldn’t be more different – half marathon, Santa fun run, and week-long endurance challenge. But they all have three things in common – they are inclusive, memorable, and full of camaraderie.
“This weekend’s race kick-starts a remarkable year for us. We look forward to welcoming more than 5,000 runners plus spectators and support from our incredible volunteer teams. This is a milestone event in a vibrant city full of landmarks, all set against the backdrop of a world-famous waterfront. Liverpool is iconic. It’s going to be special.”
For the latest updates you can visit www.btrliverpool.com