Half Marathon tops bill at Wirral festival
Wirral took centre stage this weekend as it welcomed a hat-trick of top events. 1500 runners took part in the Wirral 10K, Wirral Half Marathon, and Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral, all of which were organised and delivered by Hoylake-based BTR Liverpool.
Sunday marked the sixth consecutive 10k and half marathon races, which once again started and finished at The Dips at New Brighton. Both had previously started at Birkenhead Park but were changed last year due to works near the Four Bridges.
After setting off from The Dips, runners headed along the promenade to Seacombe Ferry, before returning to New Brighton. They then followed the established route passing Fort Perch Rock, along Ian Fraser Walk to the Clown Roundabout.
The 10K and half marathon runners were joined on Sunday by a group of almost 200 runners who were taking part in the half marathon as part of a 26-mile three-day triple race event – the fourth annual Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral.
The Wirral Tourists began their challenge on Friday evening (7 September) with a 5-mile off-road race at Arrowe Park, followed the next morning with eight challenging multi-terrain miles covering Thurstaston Country Park and the Wirral Way. They then joined the half marathon runners on Sunday to complete the third race in the series.
It was a husband and wife affair at the 10k as Mark and Linsey Ryall, both of Marshall Milton Keynes AC, finished top of their respective fields. Mark crossed the line in 33:37, with Peter Green (36:06) second and Ray Clark third (36:43). Jo Irvin was second in the female competition in 42:08, with Alexandra Kokkinaki third in 42:41.
Southport Waterloo’s Mark Durnham set a substantial course record when taking victory at the Wirral Half. Durnham finished in 72:03, over three minutes quicker than the previous best, and two minutes ahead of Lewis Rooney (74:27) in second. Steffan Sayer grabbed third in 76:40. Widnes RC’s Louise Casey took first in 1:33:08, followed by Jennifer Houghton (1:35:10) and Sarah Caskey (1:35:38).
The overall winner of the three-race Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral was Jay Walker from Wallasey AC with a combined time of 2 hours 42 minutes 47 seconds, with Natasha Sheel from Serpentine RC leading the women home in 2 hours 54 minutes 10 seconds.
BTR race director Alan Rothwell commented: “The three races – Wirral 10K, Wirral Half Marathon, and Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral – give runners the opportunity to really test themselves in their chosen distance. Wirral offers a fantastic choice of running terrains and the 10K and half marathon course along the Wirral coastline is a real highlight, both for the runners and spectators.
“Well done to everyone who took part, they really pushed themselves despite challenging weather conditions – but still plenty of big smiles as they crossed the finish line. Congratulations to the Wirral Tourists 2018, the event is the perfect taster for our week-long Tour Of Merseyside to run on consecutive days and is no mean feat."