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Biggest half marathon in Liverpool since 2013 sees over 7,350 runners at St Patrick’s Day event

3 weeks ago

Biggest half marathon in Liverpool since 2013 sees over 7,350 runners at St Patrick’s Day event
Liverpool Half Marathon 2024 Pic Stratus Imagery

The biggest half marathon to take place in Liverpool since 2013 attracted 7,350 runners on St Patrick’s Day (Sunday 17 March 2024).

The event featured the 30th anniversary BTR Liverpool Half Marathon and ninth staging of the BTR Liverpool 10 Mile Road Race, which also attracted 520 competitors. Both races attracted a combined total of almost 7,900 finishers on the day.

Entries closed three weeks ahead of race day – a first for the event. The combined final number of runners finishing the races saw a 3,600 increase on last year’s figures.

The event saw new male and female 10-mile course records being set – by the same running club.

Managed and delivered by independent race event organiser BTR Liverpool, this was the first event in a busy event portfolio for 2024. Next up is the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on Sunday 14 April, more than 1,500 runners have already registered.

First staged in 1994, the half marathon is highly regarded as one of the region’s longest established premier road races in the region and is a highlight in the North West race calendar. It also attracts participants from across the country and globally.

To mark the race falling on St Patrick’s Day – BTR Liverpool literally ran away with the green and black theme extending it to race numbers, T-shirts, medals, and hoodies.

Start line Pic by Erica Dillon
Start line Pic by Erica Dillon

The date of next year’s race has been announced as Sunday 23 March 2025. Entries are open – and 150 runners have already registered.

Both races started and finished on 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.

Loughran School Of Irish Dance from Liverpool welcomed runners to the start line as the runners began gathering.

Liverpool drumming band Batala Mersey gave runners a loud send-off as they crossed the start line, before spurring runners on to the home straight.

The BTR Liverpool Half Marathon was won by Matt Crehan from St Helens Sutton AC in 1 hour 8 minutes 5 seconds. Matt took third place last year. This year he not only moved up two podium places – but he also knocked 39 seconds off last year’s time.

The male half marathon course record remains in tact. It was set by Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers & AC in 2017 with 1 hour 5 minutes and 52 seconds.

Second place was Ian Lawton representing Prime Triathlon Coaching in 1 hour 8 minutes 18 seconds. Ian won the half marathon in 2023. Third place was Harry Lupton from Charnwood AC in 1 hour 10 minutes 6 seconds.

Spectators and sign Pic by Erica Dillon
Spectators and sign Pic by Erica Dillon

First place finisher in the half marathon was Fay Hughes representing Wirral AC in 1 hour 21 minutes 49 seconds.

The female half marathon course record remains in tact. It was set last year by Caroline Brenchley with a time of 1 hour 17 minutes 54 seconds. She beat the previous record set in 2017.

Second place was Isabelle Jones in 1 hour 22 minutes 7 seconds. Third place was taken by Niamh Donnelly from Liverpool Harriers & AC in 1 hour 22 minutes 37 seconds. Niamh was second place last year – but this time took seven seconds off her time.

The BTR Liverpool 10 Mile Road Race was won by Alistair Rutherford from Liverpool Harriers & AC in a time of 51 minutes 56 seconds. He set a new 10-mile course record by 27 seconds.

The previous record by set by fellow Liverpool Harriers & AC club member Stephen Campbell in 2022 with a time of 52 minutes 23 seconds. Stephen also won last year’s 10-miler.

Second place Sam Stratford from HI Runners in 54 minutes 42 seconds. Third place was Bradley Williams from Wallasey AC in 55 minutes 34 seconds.

Liverpool Half Marathon 2024 Pic Stratus Imagery
Liverpool Half Marathon 2024 Pic Stratus Imagery

There was a second top podium place for Liverpool Harriers & AC with first place female in the 10-miler being Rachael Burns in 59 minutes 2 seconds. Rachael also set a new female 10-mile course record by 5 minutes and 59 seconds.

The previous record was set last year by Sarah Carroll from Salford Harriers with a time of 1 hour 5 minutes 1 second.

Second place female was Kelly Hamilton representing St Helens Striders in 1 hour 5 minutes 9 seconds. Third place was Joanne Stanfield from Trentham RC in 1 hour 7 minutes 44 seconds.

All 12 runners who placed were presented with a trophy and prize money. 

The four overall winners – Matt, Fay, Alistair, and Rachael – were also presented with a bottle of limited edition Runners Gin.

Harrison Owen-Jones Turncoat Distillery, Rachael Burns 10-mile Female Winner Pic by Erica Dillon
Harrison Owen-Jones Turncoat Distillery, Rachael Burns 10-mile Female Winner Pic by Erica Dillon

Runners Gin was produced by Liverpool-based Turncoat Distillery in partnership with BTR, as a commemorative item to mark the 30th anniversary of the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon and label artwork mirrors the race theme.

Runners Gin is a London Dry style gin with an ABV of 40% made in the heart of Liverpool. It is limited to just 200 bottles. Runners can also opt to have their finishing time engraved on their bottle.

The race routes took 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.

Before returning along Otterspool Prom 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.

Liverpool Half Marathon 2024 Pic Stratus Imagery
Liverpool Half Marathon 2024 Pic Stratus Imagery

This year’s BTR Liverpool charity partners for the 2024 event portfolio are Alder Hey Children’s Charity; Claire House Children’s Hospice; Clatterbridge Cancer Charity; Liverpool Women’s Hospital Charity; Mersey Cares; North West Air Ambulance; Wirral University Teaching Hospital; and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice. All eight charities were represented on the day by runners or volunteer teams.

Jamie Doolan from Liverpool and Stephen Symons from Manchester have taken part in all 31 Liverpool Half Marathon events. Last year, BTR Liverpool gifted Jamie and Stephen race entry for life.

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.

Jamie Doolan, Jamie Poole Turncoat Distillery, Andy Grant, Harrison Owen-Jones Turncoat Distillery, Stephen Symons Pic by Erica Dillon
Jamie Doolan, Jamie Poole Turncoat Distillery, Andy Grant, Harrison Owen-Jones Turncoat Distillery, Stephen Symons Pic by Erica Dillon

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.

Organiser BTR Liverpool extended its thanks to volunteer teams who helped on the day with important tasks including pacing, water stations, T-shirts, medals, post race goodies. Volunteer teams included Dockside Runners; GoodGym Liverpool; Knowsley Harriers; 2-Step, members of the Merseyside running community; and Merseyside Army Cadet Force.

Origins Sport Massage offered runners pre and post event treatment supported by Sports Rehabilitation BSC students from Hope University. Donations were made to Teddies For Loving Care, a charity which buys teddy bears for hospital A&E departments to gift to young patients. A total of £620 was raised through donations on the day – £10 buys five bears so a very generous effort.

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 States, Uzbekistan, and Wales.

Many running clubs pulled on their club colours for the occasion, with the following taking 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.

Senior runner 86-year-old John Courtney from Liverpool ran the half marathon while guiding his blind son James. Together they have completed more than 110 half marathons.

Andy Grant Pic by Erica Dillon
Andy Grant Pic by Erica Dillon

Former Royal Marine Commando Andy Grant took 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.

Also completing the half marathon was mixed martial artist UFC Strawweight ‘Meatball’ Molly McCann. Molly ran with friends from the Baltic Market for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. Molly is also fundraising for her friend Ryan Curtis, who was paralysed while training in January.

Nova Scotia at Mann Island and sister venue Ma Boyle’s, off Water Street, supported the event by opening early for runners and spectators. And there was a colourful stall from Big Bobble Hats.

The BTR event portfolio for 2024 includes further milestone anniversaries and the return of an old favourite – the Women’s 10K Liverpool in September.

Liverpool Half Marathon 2024 Pic Stratus Imagery
Liverpool Half Marathon 2024 Pic Stratus Imagery

Celebrations continue 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. The 10th staging of community legacy Run For The 97 5K is on Saturday 18 May; and a decade of Port Sunlight Road Race 10K and 5K on Sunday 9 June, as well as 15K dual race. The BTR Wirral 10K on Sunday 13 October; and BTR brings back the Women’s 10K Liverpool on Sunday 1 September.

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 – as a runner in 1994 when it was known as the Liverpool International Half Marathon.

He later got involved in an official capacity – and now the race is owned, organised, and delivered by his company BTR Liverpool – which stands for Born To Run.

Spectators and banners Pic by Erica Dillon
Spectators and banners Pic by Erica Dillon

Alan Rothwell, BTR Race Director, said:

“The 2024 BTR event calendar is now underway! This year’s 30th anniversary event exceeded all expectations we ever had for the milestone celebrations. A big thank you to 7,900 runners and the thousands of spectators who came out on the day to line the route and cheer on their friends and family.

“A huge jump in demand and the day’s incredible atmosphere, as well as a wave of green and black T-shirt spilling out from the Pier Head to continue the St Patrick’s Day celebrations across the city really did make the day a real highlight in the history of BTR Liverpool.

“A genuine thank you to our volunteer teams – Dockside Runners; GoodGym Liverpool; Knowsley Harriers; 2-Step, members of the Merseyside running community; and Merseyside Army Cadet Force – who did an incredible day. They make a massive difference on the day. Entries are already open for next year’s BTR Liverpool Half Marathon on Sunday 23 March 2025. Almost 200 very keen runners have already signed up with over a year to go.

“Next is the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on 14 April. Join us for this brilliant race – the only time you can run through the historic Kingsway Tunnel.”

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