3,500 pound streets for second year of revived Liverpool Marathon
THOUSANDS took to the sun-soaked streets of Merseyside for the second year of the revived Liverpool Marathon.
Around 3,500 runners set off from Birkenhead Park yesterday for the 26.2m run, with another 1,000 taking part in a Wirral 10k as part of the event.
Those carrying on for the full marathon – from elite runners through to those in fancy dress – followed a course through the Birkenhead Tunnel, around Sefton Park and finished under the shadow of the Liver Buildings .
As they exited the tunnel into Liverpool, the Batala drum group’s tribal beats spurred on the runners. In front of cheering crowds at the finish line on the waterfront, Tomas Abyu, of Salford Harriers, crossed first in a course-record time of two hours 28 minutes. The fastest woman was Katie White, in a time of three hours one minute.
One of those taking part was Phillip Harrison, a paramedic running in memory of tragic Bootle teenager Ryan Ferguson.
Ryan died at the age of 19 in July, and an inquest into his death is being held tomorrow. Phillip had been first on the scene when Ryan’s mum, Val, found her son dead in his bedroom.
And the paramedic, who was raising money for Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), was cheered home in a time of four hours and 55 minutes by Ryan’s family and friends.
Ryan’s mum, Val, said: “Phillip was an absolutely fantastic support, an angel. He told us he wanted to do this and we’re all here to support him.”
Essex brothers Simon and Tom Beedell took part in memory of dad Roger, from Hunts Cross, who died of a heart attack aged 54 five years ago – with Tom claiming third place in his first ever marathon.
Afterwards, he said: “It was quite emotional, we’re all Reds fans and with dad being from here it’s a city that’s very important to us.”
Cpt Greg Hill, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, ran a rather different marathon – pounding a treadmill for 26 miles at his base in Afghanistan.
He said: “I’m doing it over here because I couldn't join my friends today in Liverpool. I’ve imagined going through the Mersey Tunnel but it’s a bit warmer here.”
There were some complaints about the widespread road disruption necessitated by the race. One city centre worker said: “It took me an hour and a half to get in, the whole of south Liverpool was closed off.”
But race director Alan Rothwell said: “From the off, everything went to plan. It’s been a really good day.
“The weather was fantastic, and while the number of runners, 3,578, was down on last year, there was a high percentage of locals in 2011 doing it as a one-off because it was new. We’ve seen more runners from across the country this year and our five-year plan is to reach 20,000.”