Liverpool Marathon axed in route dispute

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Runners in the 2011 Marathon (pic: Vegard Grott)

Runners in the 2011 Marathon (pic: Vegard Grott)

This year’s Liverpool Marathon has been cancelled by the organising committee after they failed to agree with the city council on a suitable route for the race.

The event, which returned to the city in 2011 for the first time since 1992, was due to take place on 13th October, but the 2013 race has been scrapped after disagreement between organisers Btr Liverpool and the council.

Btr Liverpool spokesman Alan Rothwell said that with calls for the marathon to start in Liverpool and then move onto the Wirral, they are not in favour of reversing the route away from a city centre finish.

He said: “It was suggested the event ran from Liverpool to Wirral and whilst that may seem quite straightforward it is far from it. I have taken the decision that this is not in the long term interests of the race and consequently feel I have no alternative than to cancel.”

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson responded that he feels a compromise deal can still be reached.

Mr Rothwell said that he hoped a half marathon or 10km event based in Wirral could be arranged for the same date, but details are yet to be set.

With more than 4,000 runners expected to participate in one of the city’s biggest sporting events, Btr Liverpool have promised to repay existing entry fees.

A Liverpool City Council spokesman said: “We are surprised and saddened to learn that the marathon has been cancelled.

Liverpool Marathon 2012 winner Tomas Abyu. (Pic: Alice Kirkland)

Liverpool Marathon 2012 winner Tomas Abyu (Pic: Alice Kirkland)

“We have been particularly keen to build in feedback from businesses, residents and visitors about previous marathons, and minimise the impact on people who travel into the city for other purposes on the day.”

The race had previously started in Birkenhead Park and ended at the Pier Head, but having been asked to change the route to ease impact on Liverpool’s waterfront roads, Btr Liverpool said it was not possible to agree on an alternative approach.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said on Twitter: “Earlier this week Council staff met with the organisers, and had a really positive meeting.

“We were working with them on a new route, and working with them on boosting grassroots participation in running. We were disappointed because, if they weren’t happy with the new route, then they should have told us, and we’d have found a solution.

“We’d still be happy to sit down with Alan and his team [Btr Liverpool] to work something out that keeps everyone happy, and provides a great marathon.”

Additional reporting by Joe Barnes & Hannah Ashraf

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