More than 1,700 enthusiastic runners took to the picturesque boulevards of Port Sunlight Village on Sunday 17th April.
The BTR Port Sunlight Road Race is organised in conjunction with Port Sunlight Village Trust and is sponsored by Unilever. This was the fifth annual event featuring 5K and 10K races, followed by a children’s 1K fun run.
Three course records were set on the day, showcasing the excellent standard of running on the day.
The race day is firmly established in the village’s event calendar and on the region’s running scene, attracting runners and spectators to the historic village to enjoy the day’s proceedings.
The races were started by Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight, and Paul Harris, CEO of Port Sunlight Village Trust. They were joined by the Deputy Mayor of Wirral Councillor Pat Hackett and the Deputy Mayoress, and Maggie Sparks, the Chair of Trustees at Port Sunlight Village Trust. They all cheered on runners and congratulated them on their achievements.
The 5K race was won by Aaron Jarvis from Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton Harriers, who was the first male home in 16.10. Hannah Whiteside was the first female finisher in a time of 19.48.
In the 10K, it was Dejene Gezimu from Liverpool Harriers AC who took the top honours in a time of 30:18. Sophie Whiteside from Liverpool Harriers AC took first female position in a time of 36.40.
Three course records were set on the day – Aaron set the 5K male course record; Dejene set the 10K male course record; and Sophie set the 10K female course record. And it also proved to be a real family affair, Hannah and Sophie Whiteside are sisters, each taking the female honours on the day.
A major achievement was recorded by former Royal Marine Commando Andy Grant from Liverpool. The 27-year-old runs wearing a blade, and won Gold Medals at the Invictus Games 2014. Andy made his Port Sunlight 10K debut and achieved a 10K PB time of 39:15 – taking 34th overall place in the race.
A group of 69 eager runners also pushed themselves by taking part in the 5K race, quickly followed by the 10K race. This is the third year that runners have done the double, with the number taking on the Port Sunlight double challenge increasing year on year.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:
“What a fantastic day of running in Port Sunlight, during which three new course records were set. Congratulations Aaron, Dejene and Sophie, you’ve certainly raised the bar even higher for next year. We had an excellent turn-out and there was a real family atmosphere. Our thanks go to our headline sponsor Unilever, and also Port Sunlight Village Trust and the residents.”
The 5K also featured 40 runners from sponsors Unilever, who have been following the Couch To 5K programme. They have been using lunch breaks and after work training runs to prepare for the race – which is the first running event for many in the group.
Unilever supported the event for the third consecutive year as part of its brightFuture campaign. One of the company’s goals is to help a billion people around the world improve their health and well-being by 2020, so supporting the BTR Port Sunlight Village Road Race is a fitting way to show its commitment to this.
Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight, commented:
“Unilever is proud to sponsor the BTR Port Sunlight Road Race, what a fantastic event. The day was excellent and it was wonderful to see how delighted the runners were to complete their own individual challenges. Congratulations to our 40 Unilever runners who ran in the 5K race, you’ve done yourselves very proud.”
Paul Harris, CEO of Port Sunlight Village Trust, added:
“Port Sunlight Village Trust is delighted to have hosted another successful event here in Port Sunlight. The road race always creates a special atmosphere in the village and we are very grateful to the residents for their help in making it another safe and enjoyable day for all.”
Mascots from the BTR Footsteps Fundraisers charity partners for 2016 – Courage from Radio City’s Cash For Kids; Chang the elephant from Everton in the Community; and Zoe Bear from Zoe’s Place – all entertained youngsters taking part in the 1K fun run.
The BTR Footsteps Fundraisers initiative brings the charities together through BTR’s key race events by encouraging participants to fundraise and support them. Funds raised will be split equally between the three charities.
All 5K and 10K finishers received a bespoke finishers’ medal, T-shirt, and goody bag which included a number of items from sponsor Unilever.
Port Sunlight Village Trust is an independent charity set up in 1999 to be responsible for the preservation and promotion of the Port Sunlight Conservation Area. The Trust invests nearly £3million each year in building maintenance and repair, heritage conservation, and lifelong learning programmes for residents, the local community, and domestic and international visitors.
Unilever is extremely proud of its history and heritage in Port Sunlight, where company founder William Lever built his factory and village in 1888. The company continues to have world class manufacturing, R&D and IT facilities based here, along with a third of its UK workforce. Unilever’s brands include household names Persil, Dove, Tresemme, Radox, Comfort and Surf.
BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region. Its portfolio also includes the Mersey Tunnel 10K; Liverpool Santa Dash; 26-mile Whistle Stop Tour Of Wirral; and the award winning Wirral Half Marathon/10K.
The next event in the BTR portfolio is the Run For The 96 5K on Sunday, 22 May, at Liverpool’s Stanley Park. The community legacy fun run is staged to celebrate the lives of the 96 Liverpool fans lost in the Hillsborough tragedy while remembering their families and the survivors.
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