Thousands of runners from around the world took to the streets of Liverpool today as the city’s marathon returned for its second year, and they were treated to perfect sunny weather along the 26.2 mile route across Merseyside.
Around 5,500 competitors, including regular road runners and charity fundraisers, set off from Birkenhead Park at 9.30am, alongside another 1,000 people taking part in the Wirral 10K race, which finished in New Brighton.
Crowds lined the closed roads and cheered on family, friends and colleagues throughout the race and some even ran or cycled alongside them for parts.
The runners emerged from the Birkenhead Tunnel into Liverpool to the sound of a big band as the route then took them along the docks, down Parliament Street and around the scenic Sefton Park before finishing on Mann Island at the Pier Head, as PSY’s cult hit ‘Gangnam Style’ played out.
Tomas Abyu, 34, from Salford, won the race in two hours 28 minutes and 24 seconds, having already set a new course record in the 2012 Jersey Marathon earlier this month with a time of two hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds.
He told JMU Journalism: “I’m very happy I won, but I’m not tired. I could have run further!”
JMU Journalism alumni legends Hugh O’Connell and Vegard Grott both completed the course, with Senior Editor Hugh managing a personal best time of four hours 52 minutes, before tweeting: “Done it. Now having the longest sit down anyone has ever had.”
Norwegian Grott, who caught the marathon bug after covering the race for this website last year, was much quicker to the finish line.
He said: “I hit the wall at the very start of Sefton Park and felt horrendous but made it in the end. I was aiming at 3:40 but only managed 4:05. I’m still very proud to have done it… I’m absolutely knackered now!”
Marathon events manager, Yvonne Rothwell told JMU Journalism: ‘The event takes a whole year to organise, so we will definitely be planning this Monday for next year’s [race]. Hopefully next year we can have just over 10,000 runners.”
At the finish line, Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh also launched this year’s annual 5k Liverpool Santa Dash which will take place on December 2nd.
Having secured the backing of the ITV Text Santa appeal, organisers are hoping for a record-breaking 13,000 participants this year.
Marsh said: “Everyone should sign up to race in Liverpool. It’s great fun and it helps raise money for charities too.”
Additional coverage by Alice Kirkland