This event has to be in the top 3 in the UK. Organisation, venue, course, marshals, closed roads, views, scenery, countryside were all of a 10/10 score. Then the final mile finish back in the town along the river esplanade with cafes, pubs, boats, huge crowds made the whole event just stunning.
It all started on the fabulous racecourse where there were countless permanent tented areas, bars, cafes, changing, meeting places-just as you would expect from one of the country’s leading racing establishments. All 5* champagne stuff in fact.
At 0900 the race started for the 3,000 runners in the marathon on the racecourse, then through the wonderful old town centre, over the river Dee and into the countryside on closed roads for 24 miles. Water, lucozade and gel stations at almost every turn-or so it seemed. Plus the crowds wished you well all the way round “by Christian name” as this was show on your race number.
Trouble was it was very hot and the many long uphill drags started to take their toll and at 16 I felt really knackered. By 17 I was on empty, the reserve tank had dried up and so I slipped into “memory mode”. And to add insult to injury the 5 hour group (headed by my 100 marathon club colleague) strode past me never to be seen again.
What surprised me was the number of runners who dropped out at each drink station and the wagons collecting them were full and on overtime as they swept up the drop outs back to the race course. Dave Faulkner also reckoned record numbers pulled out-heat and hills?
The good news was that there were plenty of runners around me –front and behind.
Then at about 23 miles I caught up the stragglers in the Metric Marathon (26 kms) that started at 1000 hrs and joined us for the last 5 miles. So a great double-header of an event and I reckon 100% of the 26K marathon runners did PBs!!
At 24 miles we were back in Chester and then the final mile was along the stunning river esplanade with cafes, pubs, boats and huge crowds shouting us ever onwards.
Then the final flourish and onto the racecourse for the last Furlong to huge applause from the crowds.
To top it all we got a huge medal, long sleeved T shirt and shoulder/back bag full of goodies.
Then a 5 minute walk for Robina and me back to our hotel (Crown Plaza if anyone needs to know for next year) and a 2nd night in fabulous Chester.
Sat night in the Chester Pizza Express with the Massey mob was also noteworthy!
Leon Coppola 3.34
Richard Taylor 3.39
Simon Brown 4.01
Dave Fawkner 4.28 (Dave was the official 4.30 pacer).
Lee Hill 5.06
Dave Phillips 5.22
Race report : Dave Phillips