The BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K returned on Sunday (26 September) after a break of almost two-and-a-half years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event is the only time throughout the year when people can make their way through the Kingsway Tunnel on foot – making it one of the most unique running events in the country.
Fondly known locally as the ‘new tunnel’, it’s also a milestone year for the tunnel – June marked the 50th anniversary since it was officially opened by The Queen in 1971.
A total of 1,327 runners completed the 15th staging of the race, which started in Liverpool city centre and finished across the River Mersey in New Brighton. The route also included Seacombe Promenade, Fort Perch Rock and the Marine Lake, before finishing on Ian Fraser Walk with views overlooking the River Mersey.
The race was last staged in April 2019. It was postponed last year due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown.
Organisers BTR Liverpool implemented a series of safety measures for race day. Runners were encouraged to take a lateral flow test, as well as pick up their own water, medals, T-shirts and refreshments from tables to minimise contact with others.
Next year’s event date has been confirmed as Sunday 11 September 2022 – entries are open now at https://www.btrliverpool.com/tunnel-10k-event
Joseph Boden from Wallasey AC won the race finishing in 32 minutes 8 seconds.
Second place was Jack McVann running for Hillingdon AC 34 minutes 27 seconds, with Francois Rafferty from Southport & Waterloo AC taking third place with a time of 34 minutes 35 seconds.
First place female was Fay Hughes from UTS Run Club finishing in 38 minutes 1 second.
Second place was Carmel Edwards from BTR Road Runners in 39 minutes 22 seconds, with Felicity Newton taking third place in 42 minutes 48 seconds.
It was a case of déjà vu for female winner Fay and second place Carmel – who both took the same podium places in the BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon just two weeks ago.
The race was started by regular BTR event runner Bex Dennehy from Crosby. It was the first race back for Bex after completing chemotherapy treatment. She proudly wore Race Number 1 and sounded the horn to start the race before joining in.
The four most senior runners on the day were aged between 75 and 82 –Marie Watson aged 75 from Liverpool; 79-year-old Dorothy Fairhurst from St Helens; Reg Armstrong aged 81 from Wirral; and Phil Humphreys from Wirral aged 82.
Sarah Benyon from Wirral completed the race in a wheelchair, and was raising money for Claire House Children’s Hospice.
The Mersey Tunnel 10K returned to the North West race calendar in 2006 at the request of the Mersey Tunnels, with BTR Liverpool taking on the mantle to organise and deliver the event. BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented, “The return of the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K after 18 months was everything we were hoping for – the sun even come out to shine on the runners as they crossed the finish line.
“The atmosphere on tunnel race day always feels a little bit different to our other races, there is a heightened anticipation especially with some running through the tunnel for the first time. We also have regulars who make it an annual pilgrimage. That’s what makes this race incredibly unique, you can’t do this any other time except on race day.
“A big thank you to our volunteer teams who make the race day experience very special for everyone taking part. Well done to 4 Coy Merseyside Army Cadet Force, Dockside Runners, Everton in the Community, and a dedicated group of helpers from across the Merseyside running community who always lend a hand when they’re not running themselves.”
Next up in the BTR event portfolio is Everton in the Community’s If You Know Your History 5K on Sunday 10 October. This is followed by two Wirral events – the new Off Road 8 Miler at Thurstaston on Saturday 16 October, and the BTR Wirral 10 Miler and 10K on Sunday 31 October.
The final BTR event of 2021 is the festive spectacular Appreciate Group Liverpool Santa Dash on Sunday 5 December.
Full race information and online entry can be found by visiting www.btrliverpool.com
Main image: BTR Race Director, Alan Rothwell and first place female, Fay Hughes. Images credit: Paul Francis Cooper/BTR Liverpool