9000 set to take part in Liverpool Half Marathon

The 30th anniversary BTR Liverpool Half Marathon and ninth staging of the BTR Liverpool 10 Mile Road Race take place on Sunday, 17 March – with a staggering 9,000 runners registered to take part on St Patrick’s Day.

The 9000 runners represent the highest number of registrations since 2013, and is more than double last year’s numbers.

The event also includes the ninth BTR Liverpool 10 Mile Road Race. An impressive 8,400 are signed up for the half marathon, with a further 600 taking on the 10-mile race.

Both races 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.

Given that the race falls on St Patrick’s Day – BTR Liverpool has gone with a green and black theme for race numbers, T-shirts, medals, and hoodies.

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. It also attracts participants from across the country and globally.

The 13.1-mile route takes runners through the city and onto Sefton Park, taking in sights along the way including Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Liverpool Cathedral, and Museum Of Liverpool.

They then return to Pier Head Liverpool for a grandstand finish line under the gaze of the city’s iconic Liver Birds – the perfect backdrop to be presented with a finishers’ medal.

Many running clubs will pull on their club colours, with the following bringing the largest numbers – Alive Fitness, Dockside Runners, Kirkby Milers AC, Liverpool Running Bugs, Liverpool Running Club, Marsh Lane Harriers, Mersey Tri, North Endurance, Penny Lane Striders, and Widnes RC.

The race continues to prove popular with overseas competitors. This year’s international runners are travelling from Australia, Brazil, Channel Islands, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Isle Of Man, Italy, Jersey, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, The US, Uzbekistan, and Wales.

Two runners (pictured, lead image), Jamie Doolan from Liverpool, and Stephen Symons from Manchester, have each taken part in all previous 30 half marathons.

Jamie is a 53-year-old nurse from Broadgreen. He has completed more than 30 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.

Fifty-eight-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.

Also pulling on her running shoes is mixed martial artist UFC Strawweight ‘Meatball’ Molly McCann.

Molly is running with three friends from the Baltic Market, where she co-owns eatery Polpetta with friend Joel McCarthy. The group are running for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. Molly is also fundraising for her friend Ryan Curtis, who was paralysed while training in January. Ryan’s GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/9d4bc-treatment

Former Royal Marine Commando Andy Grant is also taking part in the half marathon. He lost a leg during a tour in Afghanistan. He now wears a blade to run and won Gold Medals at the Invictus Games 2014. In 2016, Andy set a World Record as the fastest single leg amputee over 10K. He has since gone on to write a book, hosts a podcast, and is an inspirational speaker.

Senior runners taking part in the half marathon are aged between 76 and 86-years-old.

These include 86-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.

Loughran School Of Irish Dance from Liverpool will welcome runners to the start line to mark St Patrick’s Day. The family run group teaches boys and girls, from toddlers through to adults. They have won titles in solo and team honours in regional, national, and international competitions. They are heading to the World Championships at Easter.

Liverpool drumming band Batala Mersey will once again be spurring on runners to the finish line with their captivating live entertainment.

Nova Scotia at Mann Island is opening early specially for the event from 8am for breakfast, brunch, and take-away for runners and spectators. Its sister venue Ma Boyle’s, off Water Street, will open at 9am with a similar offering.

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 and the race is owned, organised, and delivered by BTR Liverpool – which stands for Born To Run. Very appropriate.

“Last year we celebrated the 30th staging of the event – and this year marks the 30th anniversary. This has given runners two chances to be part of the celebrations. We closed entries three weeks before race day at 9,000 entries and we still continue to be inundated, which is positive looking ahead to next year. Demand has been unprecedented.

“Organising and delivering a race on this scale comes with many logistical challenges, and we will not compromise the quality of the event. Entries opened last March and we’re genuinely sorry if people missed out.

“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 a real part of running in Liverpool on St Patrick’s Day, with people visiting from across the world to join in and experience the atmosphere. It’s going to be incredible. Have a great race, let’s have plenty of smiles over those 10 and 13.1 miles, and please do stay safe.”

The BTR event celebrations continue this year with the 20th anniversary BTR Liverpool Santa Dash on Sunday 1 December; and 10th anniversary BTR Tour Of Merseyside, a seven-day challenge of six races covering 52 miles starting on Sunday 30 June.

This year also sees the 10th staging of community legacy Run For The 97 5K on Saturday 18 May; followed by a decade of the Port Sunlight Road Race on Sunday 9 June featuring 5K and 10K distances, as well as a 15K dual race.

The portfolio also includes the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on Sunday 14 April; BTR Wirral 10K on Sunday 13 October; and new for 2024 BTR is bringing back the Women’s 10K Liverpool on Sunday 1 September.

Image: Jamie Doolan from Liverpool, and Stephen Symons from Manchester, have each taken part in all previous 30 half marathons

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