Runners take on Port Sunlight road race in scorching conditions

More than 1,000 runners – including the Mayor Of Wirral – pulled on their trainers in scorching weather conditions to take part in the Port Sunlight Road Race on Sunday (11 June).

The event featured 5K and 10K races which sold out ahead of the day, as well as 1K Fun Run for youngsters aged 12 and under.

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

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

The Mayor Of Wirral Councillor Jerry Williams swapped his chains of office for running shoes and took part in the 10K. He attended the race after officially starting the Wirral Walk earlier that morning.

A founder member of Birkenhead AC, the Mayor Of Wirral has completed 34 marathons and more than 100 half marathons. Earlier this year, he completed the BTR Liverpool Skyline 10 Mile Road Race.

A team of 10 from Abstract Hair & Beauty in Eastham – led by Kelly Cairns – took part in the 5K race to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice. Together they have raised £1,000 and are still taking donations at

The day’s most senior runners all ran the 10K race and were Dave Quarmby aged 81 from Port Sunlight; Edward Cooke aged 79 from Stockport who runs for Bramhall Runners; Robert Scholey aged 78 from Parkgate; and Jacqueline Allison aged 74 from Bebington.

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

The races started and finished in the heart of the village next to Port Sunlight Museum. The 5K took runners along the tree-lined boulevards and perfectly manicured gardens of Port Sunlight village. The 10K followed two laps of the 5K route.

More than 200 motivated runners took on the race challenge by running the 5K, followed by the 10K. They were rewarded with two race T-shirts and medals, as well as special third dual challenge medal to mark.

The Port Sunlight 5K 2023 was won by Christopher Jones from Wallasey AC in a time of 16 minutes 52 seconds. Second place in the 5K was taken by his Wallasey AC team-mate Rob Pearse just six seconds behind in 16 minutes 58 seconds, with third place going to Sam Clarke from Warriors Pentathlon Athletics Club in 17 minutes 22 seconds.

Last year, Pearse took first place in the 5K with Jones in third place. A fantastic achievement they once again both took podium places.

First female in the Port Sunlight 5K 2023 was Lynsey Coan in 20 minutes 31 seconds. Second place was Anita Dawson in 21 minutes 23 seconds, with Ella Grundy from Colwyn Bay Athletics Club in 21 minutes 58 seconds.

The winner of the Port Sunlight 10K 2023 was Oliver Chadwick from Wallasey AC in 34 minutes 22 seconds. Second place in the 10K was David Hamilton from Southport Waterloo AC in 35 minutes 18 seconds, with third place Ben Lewington from Kirkby Milers AC in 36 minutes 22 seconds.

First female in the Port Sunlight 10K 2023 was Carmel Edwards from Kirkby Milers AC in a time of 38 minutes 48 seconds. In second place was Marleen Renders in 40 minutes 56 seconds, with third place Camille Aryeetey in 42 minutes 49 seconds.

Jean Milton, Director Of Heritage at Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT), presented prizes to the 5K winners. While Kate Roberts, Human Resources Director at Unliever Port Sunlight – who took part in the 5K race – presented prizes to the 10K runners.

Port Sunlight Road Race records for the 5K and 10K remain as before.

The 5K record was set by Joseph Boden from Wallasey AC in 2019 with a time of 15 minutes 28 seconds. The female 5K record was set by Helen Sahgal from Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton Harriers in 2018 with 18 minutes 13 seconds.

The 10K record is 30 minutes 19 seconds, set by Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers in 2016. The female 10K record was set in 2016 by Sophie Whiteside, also from Liverpool Harriers, with a time of 36 minutes 42 seconds.

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

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 through to 1 December 2023.

Jean Milton, Director of Heritage at Port Sunlight Village Trust, said, “To see the whole village bustling with runners and supporters was a such a special experience. It’s no wonder so many return each year to take part in the Port Sunlight Road Race.

“I’d like to give a particular thanks to Port Sunlight residents for their support and positivity, welcoming new and returning faces to enjoy this wonderful event in our village each year. Also, thank you to Unilever Port Sunlight for their support as headline sponsor, helping to make one of the village’s biggest events a reality. It’s through events such as this that Port Sunlight Village Trust can achieve our mission to preserve and promote the village for everyone to enjoy.”

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.

Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight, added, “We were thrilled to once again welcome runners and spectators back to Port Sunlight for the 10th staging of this fantastic event. Unilever is delighted to work in partnership with Port Sunlight Village Trust and BTR Liverpool to promote health and wellbeing, encouraging people to get out there and be active. Well done to all our Unilever runners who did themselves and Unilever very proud.”

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing, and delivering headline running events across Liverpool City Region. Its extensive portfolio covers various distances across different terrains, all with an ongoing commitment to sustainability.

The BTR event calendar also includes the BTR Tour Of Merseyside, BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon, BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K, and BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.

BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell said, “The sun most definitely shone on Port Sunlight and 1,000 dedicated runners who braved scorching weather conditions to take on the 5K, 10K or dual race challenge – and a huge well done to more than 150 youngsters who completed the 1K Fun Run. They all deserve a huge pat on the back for what they achieved on the day.

“Seeing Port Sunlight awash with runners and spectators, as well as plenty of residents who spend the morning cheering from their own gardens as the runners pass by, is what makes this race event like no other. The support of the Port Sunlight community is second to none. And a big thank you to the volunteers – Claire House Children’s Hospice, Everton in the Community, Liverpool Running Bugs, members of the Merseyside running community, and Port Sunlight residents – who worked extremely hard in such heat – their assistance is paramount to making the event a success.”

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