To Chester racecourse for the fifth Chester marathon on a cold October morning. After the stress of traffic jams through the city centre and not being able to park at the marathon car park, there was a very well organised start area for the 4,500 people taking part in the join Chester marathon and metric marathon, including LBAC runners Amy & Andy Inchley, Helen Crossland and myself.
The race itself started in almost perfect conditions with a 2.5 mile tour of the city before crossing the river Dee and heading into the Welsh countryside. The route varied along quiet county lanes with few spectators and through picturesque villages with lots of support from residents. Churton village even had a brass band playing… was that Colonel Bogey! The course was attended by lots of friendly marshals, with drinks, fuel and toilet stops every three miles and marshals at all road junctions to ensure you took the right turning.
The course was described as flat, but there were quite a few steep hills in the last half (think Knaves hill!!), my Strava reports 578ft elevation gain over the course! After 20 miles in the countryside, the hills continued on the approach to Chester before levelling off and a much appreciated downhill for the last mile before returning to the racecourse for the finish.
For me this event confirmed that I prefer smaller marathons (than London), having enjoyed Liverpool previously. It was also nicer for Lynn & the family who were able to walk from the start to see us all at one and two miles, squeeze in a hot chocolate, before walking back to the racecourse for Dominic to take part (and win) the mini marathon and then watch us all finish.
At the finish I surprised myself with a PB of 3:01:46. Amy & Andy both had tough runs (absolute shockers! ed.), Andy finished in 3:25:33 and Amy came in at 3:54:24 while prolific marathon runner Helen finished with an unconfirmed PB time of 4:46:19 and seemingly enjoyed herself much more than the rest of us!