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Chester's streets were awash with colour on Sunday as nearly 6,000 runners took part in the 37th running of the Essar Chester Half Marathon. The event, which continues to draw in entrants from far and wide, takes the runners through the heart of the city in its early stages and then out into the South Wirral countryside before finishing in front of thousands of spectators in the City centre.
"Fortunately the hot conditions which challenged the participants of the London Marathon were not repeated today," said Joint Race Organiser, Chris Hulse of Active Leisure Events. "Nevertheless, we had contingency plans in place."
"As it happens, conditions were near perfect for running and ideal for the army of spectators who turned up to watch the action and support the athletes both in the city and in the villages of Mollington and Saughall, as well as the Garden Quarter in the final mile."
Phillip Matthews of Swansea Harriers was this year’s winner in a time of 1:07:59 followed by Russell Bentley of Kent AC (1:09:44) and Alex Pilcher of Derby AC (1:09:49).
The first woman to cross the line was Hayley Munn of Northampton AC who finished in a time of 1:18:06 followed by Amanda Crook of Southport Waterloo (1:18:14) and Kim Fawke of Lawley RC (1:21:54).
Whilst the main race was in progress a record 1,000 children and adults enjoyed a trot around Chester Racecourse in the one mile Family Fun Run.
"The runners are on course to raise a phenomenal £500,000 for charity this year" said Chris. "I would like to thank our title sponsor Essar and associate sponsors, Up & Running, Mitchell Group, Innospec, Total Fitness, High 5 and Lucozade Sport. We could not host the event without the support of our sponsors and amazing volunteers who make participation in the race such a memorable experience for the runners."
Running and challenge fundraiser from Claire House Sophie Chilvers said: “Claire House Children’s Hospice have loved being involved with the Essar Chester Half Marathon again this year. We’d like to say a huge thank you and congratulations to the 55 runners who took on this challenge in support of their local children’s hospice.
“For every child Claire House currently reaches, we know there’s another who still needs our support; the sponsorship funds these runners have raised will help us to keep more families smiling.”
Head of Communications at Essar Ian Cotton said: “Congratulations to everyone who took part today. It is fantastic to see so many local people getting involved either as runners or as part of the army of volunteers that make this prestigious event happen.”