30 YEARS. A LIFE ON THE RUN.
Alan Rothwell, Race Director, BTR Liverpool
2023 will be something of a landmark year for me as it ushers in the 30th year of involvement with race events on Merseyside. I can't ever remember a time when I didn't run and my earliest memory of 'enjoying' running was in the cross country season (it wasn't really cross country) as an enthusiastic athlete at John Hamilton High School.
I acknowledged early on that I was never going to make it as the dynamo in Everton's midfield, that spot was taken by Alan Ball, so as I searched for something else to do to expunge my excess teenage energy, I instinctively discovered that I could run quite easily and took to the playing fields at Cottage Homes in Fazackerley with consummate ease.
It never struck me as odd that I was in the minority of boys that embraced the challenge of running to the canal at Aintree and back, although it was peculiar that so many in the class had notes from their mothers or 'forgot their kit'. Illness and amnesia were never far away once the football season finished.
Over the next 10 years as we drifted through the 70s I took to the streets of Liverpool with each and every friend I had... all of whom fell by the way side once the distance increased or the pace picked up.
I would add at this point I had no clue about pace, distance or structured training and probably still don't now.
I just ran.
And so we arrived in the early eighties and the London Marathon and the Great North Run created the first running boom and that was where I found my spiritual home.
I had a focus and a direction for my casual, lone wolf running and boy did I enjoy the challenges that came along with each marathon.
Well what do you think?
For more than 14 years I was on a self indulgent crusade of just running. Mile after mile. Race after race. Brilliant.
As much as I ran instinctively, what followed from 1994 was definitely driven by an external, mysterious almost alien force. I took part in the 1994 Liverpool International Half Marathon and it was here I met the organisers Bill Sergeant and Jim Ross who got me involved and the strange thing was I didn't ask to be involved or indeed think about getting involved... but I did.
Fast forward to today and many of you will be familiar with BTR as an event company and it is surprising that so many people don't know what those three little letters stand for. If you didn't know... it's Born To Run. Quite an appropriate name really when I think back to how or why I got involved in the activity of running. It was very instinctive with no great thought as to 'why'.
So my involvement with events started way back in 1994 when event delivery was so very different to what it is today. Along the way I've taken over local authority events, created events and some have stood the test of time and others have disappeared.
As we move into 2023 there is an interesting alignment and synergy shaping up among the race events.
It's the 30th Liverpool Half Marathon I've been involved in.
It's the 20th Liverpool Santa Dash I've hosted.
It's the 10th Tour Of Merseyside I've rolled out.
What an amazing coincidence and something that I am justifiably proud of, especially when there have been so many race events disappear over the years... the Women's 10K, the Waterloo 15K, the Devil's Gallop and the Liverpool 10K to name just a few.
I'm sure there will come a time, sooner rather than later when I will have to look at retiring but it won't be in 2023!
Until that time comes we can all carry on and enjoy running and racing across Merseyside and taking part in BTR events - whether you are on a couch to 5K programme or a seasoned distance runner looking for another high octane challenge.
Please come and join me in 2023... it's a year of celebration and achievement.
Born To Run? Yep, I guess I was.
See you on a start line somewhere!