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A welcome dip in the temperature first thing on Sunday morning gave over 5,000 main race runners and 1,000 family fun runners near perfect running conditions for the Essar Chester 2019 Half Marathon.
“By any measure the event has again been an outstanding success both for the elites at the head of the race and the thousands of club and fun runners behind them,” said Joint Race Organiser Chris Hulse of Active Leisure. “Not to forget the record 1,000 children who charged around the Racecourse in the 1-mile fun run!”.
Local school children have taken part in a special challenge set by the organisers to encourage them to get active. As part of the challenge runners were asked to complete the 13.1 half marathon distance by running 1 mile a week, with the fun run on Sunday making up one of them. Schools from around Chester took part including St Martin’s Academy who brought an entire class - they are all well on track to receiving an extra medal.
Mohammad Rezeq of Altrincham & District AC took a commanding lead right from the start and was this year’s winner of the main race with a time of 1:04:28 followed by Ben Fish of Blackburn Harriers & AC (1:09:27) and Simon Birch of Hinkley RC (1:10:38).
The first woman to cross the line was Kirsty Longley of Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton AC in a time of 1:19:03 followed by Julie Briscoe of Wakefield & District Harriers & AC (1:19:47) and Gemma Connolly of St Helens Sutton AC (1:19:56).
Mohammad said: “I really enjoyed the race. Chester is a fantastic city for running. It was a good, fast, course with a stunning finish. I appreciated the enthusiastic support all along the route from the spectators and the encouragement from the volunteers was fantastic.”
Chris Hulse: “We’ve done our very best to make this a special race from start to finish. We are absolutely delighted with the number of athletes, volunteers and supporters who have all played their part in making it such a memorable event. Having our wonderful city central to it all is also a massive factor in what makes our race a unique experience.
“It’s clear from feedback already received that huge thanks are due from the runners to the communities and householders along the course, especially those of Mollington, Saughall and the Garden Quarter. The support they gave both in terms of encouragement and refreshments really spurred the runners on when they needed it the most!”
“We’d also like to give thanks to our title sponsor Essar, our associate sponsors, Mitchel Group, Innospec, Dee 106.3, High 5, Locozade Sport, Up and Running and all the organisations and volunteers without which this event wouldn’t be possible. All of these people have helped us to deliver a fantastic event for Chester and contributed to us winning a national award, the first in the race’s 38 year history.”
Ian Cotton, Head of Communications at Essar said: “Essar are proud to be a part of such a prestigious event which creates a fantastic experience for so many people. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this event such a success.”
One of the central aims of the Essar Chester Half Marathon is to support local communities and charities. The expectation is that race runners will raise in excess of £500,000 for charitable causes, with Northern Lights being the main race charity for the 2019 event.