The 52-mile BTR Tour Of Merseyside is back for 2014 – with over 200 runners set to take on the challenge which starts this Sunday (6 July) with a Half Marathon in Southport.
The week-long event takes a tour of the county with six races over seven days, covering an impressive 52 miles in Southport, Walton, Wirral and Knowsley, as well as Hale.
The event is the brainchild of BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell, who has previously taken part in a similar event in Tameside. That event no longer exists so Alan took the opportunity to develop a new event for the region.
The first BTR Tour Of Merseyside took place in July 2013, with 73 runners – or Tourists – being the first to complete the inaugural event.
This time round, the number of entries has almost tripled. Runners unable to commit to the full week are again welcome to sign up as guest entries to take part in individual events during the week.
BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for race organisation and delivery in Liverpool City Region. Its portfolio of annual events includes the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon; BTR Wirral Half Marathon; BTR Port Sunlight 10K; and the spectacle of the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented: “The BTR Tour Of Merseyside really has captured the imagination of runners. I’m delighted with how positively the event has been received for the second successive year. Six races over seven days covering 52 miles is no mean feat.
“Last year’s runners totally embraced the overall experience. Many of them had never taken on such a challenge, but they went away with great memories and new running friends who had all experienced this unique event. The camaraderie and support for each other really was incredible to witness.
“This year, the race field has almost tripled in size, with runners quite literally queuing up to enter so they could share in this experience. A large number of last year’s Tourists signed up again straight away, and this year we’re welcoming lots of new faces keen to be part of the 2014 event.”
The six BTR Tour Of Merseyside events take place in Southport; Thurstaston; Walton; Hale; Knowsley; and Wirral, and cover a variety of race terrains including beach, road and cross country.
The week starts with the 13.1-mile Southport Half Marathon this coming Sunday (6 July), and finishes with a 12-mile Wirral Coastal run the following Saturday (13 July) – covering the 52 miles during the course of the week.
At the end of the last race the Tourists, guest runners, and spectators will then gather for a special celebration event at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion Theatre to mark their special achievement.
Last year’s winning male and female, Anthony Taylor and Hayley Winder, will again race to defend their titles. Both live in Manchester and are Liverpool Football Club supporters.
Anthony, 39, is a health and fitness instructor/personal trainer. Hayley, 38, is originally from Wallasey. Anthony said: “I had run in the old Tour Of Tameside, so when the BTR Tour Of Merseyside was launched last year I just had to be part of a similar race series running around the ‘Mecca’ of Merseyside.
“It was a special feeling crossing the finish line to take first place in the overall rankings, but I was a little sad that such a great week had come to an end. It’s a superb event and this year’s new Tourists will thoroughly enjoy it.”
Hayley added:”The chance to race on my home turf and revisit places I’ve not been since I was younger was great. The atmosphere and camaraderie were the reasons I signed up again. The bonds formed are hard to describe, we were like one big family on a journey together.
“The first ever Tour Of Merseyside will always hold a special place in my heart – and nothing will beat that. I cannot wait to experience it all over again, see last year’s Tourists and meet the new ones.”
Each runner has their own reason for taking part and story to tell. Some are participating as a personal challenge, while others are taking on the Tour to raise funds for their chosen charity. Charities set to benefit include Mind; Cardiac Risk In The Young; Arrowe Park Hospital’s Neo-Natal Unit; Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust; Marie Curie; The Stroke Association; and Sense.
FULL RACE SCHEDULE FOR BTR TOUR OF MERSEYSIDE 2014:
• Race 1: Sunday, 6 July – Southport Half Marathon 13.1 miles, (9am start)
• Race 2: Monday, 7 July – Thurstaston Multi-Terrain 6 miles, (7pm start)
• Race 3: Tuesday, 8 July – Sustrans Cycle Trail 10 miles, (7pm start)
• Rest day: Wednesday, 9 July
• Race 4: Thursday, 10 July – Halton 5 miles, (7pm start)
• Race 5: Friday, 11 July – Knowsley Cross Country 6 miles, (7pm start)
• Race 6: Saturday, 12 July – Wirral Coastal Run 12 miles, (10am start)