Almost 1,000 runners stood side by side ahead of the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on Sunday (12 September) in silent tribute to Her Majesty The Queen who died last week.
Participants were invited by organisers BTR Liverpool to observe a two minutes silence before the race.
This was the 16th staging of the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K. The event is the only time throughout the year when people can make their way through the Kingsway Tunnel on foot and run under the River Mersey – making it one of the most unique running events in the country.
The Mersey Tunnel 10K returned to the North West running calendar in 2006 at the request of the Mersey Tunnels, with BTR Liverpool taking on the mantle to organise and deliver the event.
The race has been staged each since 2006, with the exception of 2020 during the pandemic when there was a break of almost two-and-a-half-years between races.
Organisers were given the go-ahead to stage the race so felt it appropriate to honour The Queen as part of event proceedings – as a mark of respect and to reflect on her incredible duty of more than 70 years.
A tribute was read by race day host Graeme White, who also led the two minutes silence. This was followed by The Beatles’ classic song In My Life.
The winner of the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K 2022 was Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers AC in 33 minutes 39 seconds. He last won the race in 2018. Dejene set the current course record at 30 minutes 52 seconds in 2016.
Jamie Mackie finished second in 34 minutes 36 seconds, followed by Joshua Makin in third place in 34 minutes 59 seconds.
First place female was Fay Hughes from UTS Run Club in Hoylake with a time of 39 minutes 1 second. This is the second consecutive year Fay has taken top honours in this race.
Second place was Becky Chittick from Penny Lane Striders in 45 minutes 29 seconds, while Anita Dawson finished third in 45 minutes 32 seconds.
The current female course record remains. It was set in 2019 by Kirsty Longley from Liverpool Pembroke Sefton Harriers with a time of 36 minutes 19 seconds. Kirsty broke the record she had previously set in 2017 by knocking a further 30 seconds off her time.
The point-to-point race started in Liverpool city centre taking runners straight into the Kingsway Tunnel. The route also included Seacombe Promenade, Fort Perch Rock and Marine Lake, before finishing on Ian Fraser Walk in New Brighton overlooking the River Mersey.
Overseas runners travelled from Malaysia, Spain, and Sweden to take part. While local running clubs were well represented by Hoylake Road Runners, Liverpool Running Club, Penny Lane Striders, Rimrose Runners, and Wallasey AC.
Runners also included a team of 15 from the Bank Of America in Chester.
While 10-year-old Owen Oswick from Wirral wowed everyone on the day by clocking a time of 40 minutes 49 seconds – finishing in 24th overall position.
The day’s most senior runners were Tunnel 10K regulars 83-year-old Phil Humphreys from Wirral, and Ron Thornton aged 81 from Liverpool.
BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell said, “Well done to everyone who took part, and once again made the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K a very memorable day especially during this incredibly poignant and historic time. The atmosphere on the day was understandably subdued, and I congratulate our runners on all their achievements.
“I want to publicly thank everyone who impeccably observed the two minutes silence to honour and thank Her Majesty The Queen for her loyal and dedicated duty which spanned more than seven decades. We felt The Beatles’ song In My Life was a fitting tribute and heartwarming but respectful nod from Liverpool, especially before we followed in her footsteps and headed into the Kingsway Tunnel which she officially opened 51 years ago.
“The Mersey Tunnel 10K is a unique race given it’s the only time you can make your way through on foot. I’m sure everyone who was involved on the day will remember this year’s race for many special reasons.”
Next in the BTR event portfolio is a new Winter 5K series spanning three events starts at the end of September with Autumn Leaves in Arrowe Park, followed by Bonfire Blast in Hoylake in November, and Winter’s Trail on the Wirral Way in December.
Festive spectacular Liverpool Santa Dash sponsored by Park Christmas Savings returns on Sunday 4 December, followed by The Grinch 5K in West Kirby on Sunday 11 December.
First race in the calendar for 2023 is the 30th anniversary of the Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon on Sunday 26 March.
Full race information and online entry can be found by visiting www.btrliverpool.com
Image: Paul Francis Cooper