More than 5,000 runners breathed new life into the Liverpool Marathon as the race returned to the city for the first time since 1992.
The marathon, which is predicted to have a bright future by city leaders having already received a £3m tourism boost from the event, replaced the old Mersey Marathon with style but the race was not without a last-minute hiccup.
The runners met up bright and early at Birkenhead Park to start the 26.2 mile course at 9.30am on Sunday, but a safety delay by Merseyside Police did not allow the race to start until 50 minutes later.
Liverpool star Jamie Carragher, who has created the ‘The 23 Foundation’ charity, opened the marathon. Speaking before the start, the footballer revealed that he would run the Liverpool Marathon when his career at Liverpool FC is over.
Runners from all over the world, from America to Asia, as well as many local participants, could enjoy a beautiful sight in the sun at the New Brighton promenade before they entered the Queensway Tunnel having completed half of the course.
The marathon finished off in the Liverpool city centre at the Pier Head after the runners had made their way through Princes Park and Sefton Park but by then the sun had changed to heavy rain.
Liverpool Harriers’ John McCole won the marathon, completing the course at 2:34:41, finishing well ahead of Ian Streeter in second place at 2:36:12, while Jason Cherriman finished third in 2:39:05.
JMU Journalism Website Editor Liam Deveney, who ran the marathon in 4:43:44, said: “That was a fantastic experience, I really enjoyed it. I’m stiff as a board, but it was a fabulous event.”
While Deveney completed his fourth marathon, JMU Journalism Senior Editors, Hugh O’Connell and Chris Shaw, finished their first ever marathon running in the official times of 5:24:33 and 5:36:20, respectively.
Both agreed that the race was “an amazing experience”. O’Connell said: “It was really tough. The first 13 miles were do-able, I ran all of them, but after that when I came out of the tunnel I found it quite difficult.
“In the end I managed to get to the finish and that was a great feeling. This is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.”
Next year’s Liverpool Marathon will be held on Sunday October 14th, 2012, and it is expected that the number of runners could reach as high as around 30,000 already by 2013.