THIS weekend will see more than 3,000 runners take on the annual challenge of running through the Mersey Tunnel. The 11th BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K race takes place on Sunday (19 June), starting at 9.30am. Runners set off from Blackstock Street in Liverpool city centre before making their way into the Kingsway Wallasey Tunnel to run underneath the River Mersey – the most challenging and unique part of the race. This is the only time runners can actually run underneath the River Mersey. After emerging from the tunnel, the runners then make their way along the picturesque Wirral waterfront from Seacombe, past Fort Perch Rock and the Marine Lake, before arriving at the grandstand finish area on Ian Fraser Walk in New Brighton. Last year, the event sold out for the first time with 3,200 runners – the largest field since the race was brought back in 2006 at the request of the Mersey Tunnels. Limited entries are still available for people wanting to register to take part, online entries are available or enter in person at the BTR office. The race will prove particularly memorable for one runner from Wirral – who gets married on the same day. Scientist 41-year-old Abir Ali, who lives in Moreton, will take part in the race just hours before he marries fiancée Hayley Blanc. Abir proposed on Hayley’s birthday last year after three years together. He will run dressed as a groom wearing a shirt, tie, suit jacket and buttonhole flower – as well as a special personalised ‘Groom’ race number carrying the special date ‘1906’. Abir commented: “It’s going to be a very busy, exciting day. Taking part in the Tunnel 10K and meeting up with my running friends will definitely help to settle the nerves! I have to say a huge thank you to Hayley for being so understanding, especially on our big day, she knows how much I enjoy running. “I started running eight years ago and my first race was the BTR Wirral 10K, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve ran the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K every year since 2013 and it just gets better. It’s a real challenge and so unique compared to other races – plus we don’t have to pay the toll fee to get through! “It’s fitting that I’m running my fourth BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K on my wedding day, and this will also be my 85th running event – so a big thank you to BTR for the work they do for the running community of Merseyside and beyond.” The BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K race is the latest event in a year-long joint fundraising partnership between BTR Liverpool and its three official charities. The BTR Footsteps Fundraisers initiative brings the charities together through BTR’s key race events by encouraging participants to fundraise and support them. Funds raised will be split equally between the three charities – Radio City’s Cash For Kids, Everton in the Community and Zoe’s Place. Finishers receive a bespoke medal, T-shirt and goody bag. Enter online at www.btrliverpool.com or at 82 Market Street, Hoylake, Wirral, CH47 3BD.