A cool, windswept day, and both sunshine and showers greeted over 5,000 athletes to the popular Chester Marathon and Metric Marathon races last Sunday morning.
For event organisers though, they must have been relieved that both events finally went ahead following heavy rains and severe flooding to the planned racecourse start earlier in the week.
Officials acted quickly to move the start and finish, and to cancel car parking on the grounds, but all went smoothly in the end as thousands of runners, families and supporters packed the city to enjoy another spectacular event.
This year marked the 10th staging of these races which encompassed the superb sites of this historic location, in-between running some tough courses along country lanes to the Cheshire villages of Holt and Farndon (on the marathon), or Aldford in the metric race.
The race attracted 4,041 runners to the full marathon and another 1,152 to the Metric race run over 26.2kms.
Conditions weren’t ideal for elite personal best times yet the first two runners in the full marathon both dipped under two and half hours, and the first lady just missed the three-hour mark.
In first place was Tom Charles from Trafford AC in 2 hours 29 mins 28 secs, followed just six seconds later by Tristan Windley from Keswick AC in 2.29.35, with third place going to Neil Renault (unattached) in 2.32.58.
For the ladies, Abbey Van Dijk was first female in 3.01.38, and in second spot was Johanna Sutcliffe from Halifax Harriers in 3.04.36, with Camilla Hermsen from Harpenden Arrows third in 3.04.58.
North Wales Road Runners had 16 competing in either the full or metric marathon races with many appearing to gallop around, recording personal best times or claiming deserved age category wins.
The pick of the results went to Martin Green, third overall and 1st MV45 cat winner in 1 hour 33 mins 34 secs in the (16-mile) 26.2 kms Metric race.
It was won by Chris Pownall from Knowsley Harriers in 1.30.47 with second placed Nicholas Barry from Sale Harriers in hot pursuit throughout in 1-31.04, but Martin’s performance seemed even more remarkable considering it was less than 24-hours after he finished 5th and won his age category in the muddy North Wales Cross-Country event at Wrexham.
For the Metric ladies, 1st place went to Es Burford (unattached) in 1.49.17, 2nd was Sophie Hart from UTS RC in 1.49.40, and in 3rd place was Elizabeth Renondeau from Vale Royal AC in 1.51.31.
NWRRC had six athletes in the main marathon and 10 in the metric race, and Iwan Evans was another fast runner in the metric event finishing 10th and 1st MV40 in 1.48.33.
Other metric results included: Sarah Ferguson as 43rd female in 2.19.26 after dashing back from Hong Kong, with Kay Hatton 53rd female and 5th FV55 in 2.20.59.
It turned out to be a good day for the ladies despite the conditions, with Vicky Taylor 115th female in 2.32.21, and Kelly Alford – who suffered with several blisters – finishing 198th female in 2.41.39. Kelly’s partner Cai Roberts enjoyed another good run in 483rd place in 2.41.36, and veteran Don Hale, running this longer distance for the first time in about four decades, was 524th in 2.45.05.
Mandy Owen was 323rd female in 2.54.01, and her husband Charlie, who again had not run this distance for many years, also ran well in 841st place in 3.10.07.
In the full marathon, Martin’s wife Carla Green had an excellent race finishing 27th female and 6th FV45 in 3.19.54, and Ben Hudson, who like his partner Sarah Ferguson, had only just dashed back from a long-haul holiday, recorded a new PB by just 35-seconds in 1127th place in 3.51.07.
Steve Roberts was 1323rd in 3.57.13, with Stuart Culverhouse in 1395th position in 3.58.55.
And quite remarkably, Jon Evans after running twice on Saturday, in a Parkrun and at a Liverpool 5k race, ran as a full marathon pacer, and finished spot-on in 4.00.06, whilst Josie Davies claimed a great new marathon PB as 493rd female in 4.35.13.