Six races over seven days covering 52 miles
across Sefton, Wirral, Liverpool and Knowsley
St Helens runner sets new Tour Of Merseyside record
Almost 400 runners completed the 7th annual BTR Tour Of Merseyside race event – with year’s overall winner setting a brand new event record.
The enthusiastic participants took on the challenge of six races across seven days covering a total of 52 miles.
The BTR Tour Of Merseyside (TOM) endurance event is made up of races of varying distances and terrain across Liverpool City Region, with races staged in areas of Sefton, Wirral, Liverpool and Knowsley.
First staged in 2013, the unique event was created by BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell. It has gone on to become a firm favourite and highlight in the North West running calendar.
The winner of the BTR Tour Of Merseyside 2019 was 27-year-old Matthew Crehan from St Helens, who runs for St Helens Sutton AC.
Matthew set a new overall TOM course time after breaking every race record along the way – finishing with an overall time of 4 hours 40 minutes 13 seconds. The previous TOM record time of 4 hours 55 minutes 32 seconds was set in 2018 by this year’s second place finisher Chris Pownell.
Taking part in the Tour for the very first time, Matthew, who owns specialist running store Made To Run in St Helens, commented:
“It was fantastic to not only break to the Tour of Merseyside overall record but each course record along the way.
“The atmosphere created from my fellow Tourists, the volunteers and all the supporters made every race brilliant – and to celebrate those achievements with 400 like-minded others who were celebrating their own experiences from completing 52 miles in a week.”
Second place Chris Pownell from Knowsley Harriers AC completed the Tour in 4 hours 55 minutes 30 seconds – narrowly beating his own overall winning time from last year by two seconds. Chris also took first place in the TOM in 2017. Despite finishing second, this is his fastest overall TOM finishing time.
Stephen Campbell, who also runs for Knowsley Harriers, took third place with a time of 4 hours 57 minutes 28 seconds.
This is the first year in the history of the Tour Of Merseyside that the first three finishers have all clocked an overall finishing time of less than five hours.
The female TOM 2019 winner was 39-year-old Carmel Edwards, who lives in Hightown.
Carmel’s female winning time for 2019 was 6 hours 5 minutes 28 seconds. Carmel also took the top honours in 2017.
Carmel, a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology, said:
“The Tour of Merseyside enables you to adopt the privileged title of a Tourist, and I have been fortunate enough with the support of fellow Tourists to have won it now for a second time.
“It’s a truly amazing experience that has everything and caters for everyone, regardless of ability. The Tour epitomises everything that is great about running and is the jewel in the crown of many other great BTR events.”
Second place female was Rachael Fairclough from St Helens Striders with a time of 6 hours 7 minutes.
Carol Paxton took third place female in 6 hours 8 minutes 1 second. Despite finishing third, Carol did beat her second female finishing time of 6 hours 12 minutes 21 seconds from 2018.
The week of running began on the Sunday with the Southport Half Marathon, where the aspiring Tourists were guests of Epic Events.
This was followed on the Monday evening with six miles beach and trail terrain at Thurstaston; 10 miles on the Sustrans Loopline in Walton on the Tuesday evening; with a well-earned rest day on the Wednesday.
It was back to running on the Thursday evening with five miles along the Liverpool waterfront at Otterspool Promenade. The shortest distance of the week, previous Tourists have now adopted this leg as a fancy dress race – and it was certainly a case of dress to impress!
After six miles cross country at Stadt Moers in Knowsley on the Friday evening; the race concluded with the final 12 miles on the Saturday morning along the Wirral coast from New Brighton towards Hoylake with one mile across the beach before returning to New Brighton.
After completing each leg of the six race series, 396 runners crossed the finishing line for the final time in New Brighton, where they were presented with the coveted ‘52’ finishers’ medal and commemorative race T-shirt featuring the names of the Tourists 2019 – earning the right to call themselves a Tourist!
The Tourists went on to mark their achievements with a celebration event at the Bierkeller at Liverpool ONE, featuring the premiere of the BTR Tour Of Merseyside 2019 video of specially recorded footage from each of this year’s races.
Liverpool blogger Rachel Bertenshaw was invited to make the prize presentations. Rachel’s hilarious video about running went viral recently. Much to the amusement of the Tourists, it was screened at the celebration event and she was given an extremely warm reception.
During its inaugural year in 2013, a modest 73 runners completed the Tour Of Merseyside. This year’s field included 15 ever present Tourists, including just three women, who have taken part in all previous TOM events. They all went on to collect their seventh prestigious TOM medal.
Local clubs flying the flag throughout the Tour with the most team runners included Penny Lane Striders, BTR Road Runners, Knowsley Harriers, Liverpool Running Club, Warrington RC, and St Helens Striders.
Participants also included runners who travelled from the Isle of Man, Norway and Thailand especially to take part.
Hoylake-based race organisers BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region. The BTR event portfolio also includes the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K, Port Sunlight Road Race 5K and 10K; and BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:
“What another incredible year for the Tour Of Merseyside. The runners, volunteers and spectators are all important pieces of the jigsaw and vital in making it a truly memorable, unique and special experience. As the week progresses, you can see the camaraderie growing before your very eyes as the aspiring Tourists engage, encourage and support each other.
“Congratulations to first time Tourist Matthew Crehan, who smashed every race and set a new overall Tour record. What a remarkable achievement. It was fantastic to see everyone urging him to take the podium place.
“The TOM tests runners to the very limit. Tourists are juggling work and home life with travel and preparing for a daily race – all while appetites and sleep patterns are disrupted. It takes a lot of belief and mental strength, and I applaud every one of our 396 Tourists. Well done to the Tour class of 2019!
“There’s a lot more to the week than just running. Our volunteer teams deserve a special mention. Their contribution throughout the week is paramount to making everything run smoothly and efficiently.
“Entries for the Tour Of Merseyside 2020 have almost sold out already. The TOM is held in high esteem by past and present Tourists, but it’s always special to welcome people taking part for the very first time. It is a daunting prospect, so the Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral in September – three races over three days covering 26 miles – is the perfect taster to experience Tour life.”
The BTR Tour Of Merseyside 2020 is limited to 500 places. To find out more visit https://www.btrliverpool.com/tour-of-merseyside
Facebook Facebook/BTR Liverpool