Tour of Merseyside: 5–11th July, Wednesday, July 15, 2015

6 races, 7 days, 52 miles

Denise Benvin

I had spotted this little beauty back in 2013 on the BTR website it was 6 races in 7 days, it was 52 miles over the week all different races and different terrains and different distances. As I had only been running a matter of months an I hadn’t even run a full 5k, I thought one for another year. In 2014 I was on holiday when it was taking place so 2015 was me year. So euro in hand I went to use the computer in reception whilst on holiday and secured my place. I have family in Liverpool and put a weeks holiday in at work and invited myself to my parents for the week (they didn’t object, not sure why I wouldn’t want to spend a week with me)

Race 1 was Southport half marathon an it was a warm day to say the least, Dougie had also decided to do this run an it was nice to see a strider face at the race. This was a flat fast course and went out one way to a turn around point, on my way to the turn around point I spotted Dougie coming towards me on the other-side a few mins between us, at least I knew where he was and so the chase was on. I did spot Dougie in the distance around the lake some 6 miles further on, and all but few miles from home and I was catching him, he however also had a canny spurt and I never got any closer. You can read Dougie’s amusing report which is also on the website [thank you! [blush] Ed.]. The gauntlet has been thrown down for next year though … 13 miles done

Race 2 was in Thurstaston the Wirral side of the River Mersey and was a 6 mile multi terrain race, it was a wet night which got even wetter in fact torrential at one point, but it was a lovely run that went out on to the beach for a around 2 miles it was heavy going here on the legs and only got a bit lighter on the legs as we made our way towards the woods which was equally as nice to run through. It was then along the track for a couple of miles and back to the start finish line. The atmosphere was lovely and people were getting to know each by now … 19 miles done

Going Coastal.

Race 3 was by Walton Hall Park and was 10 miles on the Sustrans Cycle Trail known locally as “The Ralla” it was 2.5 miles one way then 2.5 miles back to the start/finish then the same in the opposite direction, whilst this was not a course to rave about it was nice in the fact you got to see the other runners going in different directions and there was plenty of encouragement through out to field an it turned out to be a nice night considering the look of the grey clouds and dull skies an the forecast was for rain … 29 miles done

Race 4 was a short and sweet 5 miles, and somehow it ended up as a fancy dress night (think it might be a regular after this year) the race started and finished in the Wellington pub car park in Hale Village, a dammed good idea I thought, nice and handy for post race refreshments. It was a lovely flat 5 miles in the evening sunshine, it was a race of left turns around the outskirts of Hale. We got lots of encouragement from people sat in their cars waiting to get through the village as well as local residents who had come outside to watch the spectacle all of whom must have thought we were all nutters, they wouldn’t be far wrong in all fairness. The Children however thought it was fantastic and it was lovely to hear the laughter and squeals of delight as we ran past. I do wonder if the Lord Mayor will let us back next year????? It was a great atmosphere people really having fun getting to know each other now. I had managed to find a leopard print dress in a charity shop that I cut up found a scarf to match and went as Jane, thankfully nice and light to run in given the heat. I will have to start thinking now for next year as there was a pretty high standard set this year, so I am open to suggestions folks. A fab night all round … 34 miles done

Race 5 was at Stadt Moers country park. This used to be the tip many many years ago and deep in the trees you can find the outlet holes for the gas to escape, you wouldn’t believe it if you went thought it really is a lovely place and is one of the winter xc courses for the area. We had to do 2 x 3 mile laps but before we started it was time for everyone to catch up and laugh on the previous nights costumes. Race time came and it was on with the announcements and handing the tour leader tops out then off we went. The course was lovely and with a bit of mud in the winter it would be fab, we snaked around and up and down the hill and trees in front a few times before heading off in a different direction and then coming round to the start finish for a much needed bottle of water in the heat and lap 2. When finished the queue for the ice-cream van soon built up, it sold handmade ice-creams an had been getting some hammer each night but the poor ladies really had to work on the warm nights, so even if you run just to eat the ice-cream it was worth it. Another great night and 5 races down this meant that tomorrow was the last race, I had made it this far tomorrow I would finish even if I had to finish at a crawl pace … 40 miles done

Race 6 the final race, this was once again on the other side of the river at Wallasy it was the Wirral Coastal run and the final 12 miles. It was a tad windy as we waited for the start we had been asked to be there for 9.30 so we could have a group Tour photo, an so we all gathered around to have the picture taken, it was the photographers job to get us all in, and so balanced up a step ladder dug in to the drifted sand on the prom it was cries of squash up a bit more, move to the front, supporters move left or move right, no move in more an a few more to the front etc.

Squash Up!

However the picture was eventually taken with much laughter and ribbing and one photographer who somehow didn’t fall off his ladder and we for the last time took our position at the start finish line. This was going to be fun, 6 miles of head wind woo hoo along the prom towards Hoylake, I had got to around mile 4 when the leaders came towards me flying along and well on their home, how they managed their words of encouragement going at that speed was beyond me. To get the full 6 miles in we went on to the beach at mile 5 and a half, and ran half a mile on the sands to the water station which was also the turn around point, that was it, I was on my way back now, I was on my way home to the finish line and to completing my first Tour. The head wind which was now supposed to be behind us helping had dropped an the sun was out, and so it was a very warm 6 miles to the finish, It was a fantastic feeling to count the miles down and the final push to the line was full of fellow competitors and family members all cheering and clapping, but I crossed the line, I had finished. I had completed The Tour of Merseyside I had run my 6 races in 7 days I had run my 52 miles an I was a fully fledged “Tourist” I was given my medal and collected my T Shirt. I made my way back along the prom to meet one of my new friends and run in with her and watch her cross the line. All that was left was to make our way back to Liverpool an the post race bash an presentation. So with a nice pint in hand an some much deserved grub from one of the food sellers we all chatted till it was time for the presentation an awards. Then it was time for a good laugh at the footage that had been recorded all week by the camera man catching our week for us, his hard work an cutting an editing each night to put hours an hours of footage on to a DVD so we could look back an remember total miles completed 52 …

Same time next year I think

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