Thousands of runners are gearing up to race through the streets of Chester this weekend to raise money for charity.

This Sunday, more than 5,000 people will take to the city streets for the MBNA Chester Marathon which starts and finishes at the Roodee.

The race will pass through all the city landmarks including the walls, Eastgate clock, amphitheatre and the Old Dee Bridge before heading out of Chester via Pulford and into the Welsh villages of Lavister and Rossett.

The route will then follow a small loop reaching the old village of Holt before crossing the ancient medieval bridge at Farndon, leading back to Chester.

And this will be the first year pace runners have featured at the marathon, to help participants achieve their performance goals.

The nine teams of pacers, who are backed by TriActive Chester, have been attending monthly training runs with the marathon participants and will provide general support on the big day.

Joint race organiser Chris Hulse said: “We are really excited to be able to offer our runners this extra help on race day.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to stay on pace, particularly for first-time runners, so our pacers are there to help everyone around the course and to stay on track throughout the marathon.”

“The nine teams are targeting times of three hours, five hours and every 15-minute interval in between.”

Chris added: “We also have a one-mile mini marathon taking place after the marathon starts .

“It’s open to everyone and is a great opportunity for our runners’ families to get involved on the day.”

The mini marathon takes place at Chester Racecourse and all runners will receive a finisher’s medal, a mini marathon T-shirt, as well as a drink and mini goody bag at the finish.

Places are limited to 250 and entries will be taken at Chester Racecourse from 4.30-6pm on Saturday.

Registration will reopen on race day from 7-8.30am. Entry costs £3.50 or £5 for those who would like to donate £1.50 of your entry to this year’s lead charity, Cancer Research UK.

For more information visitwww.chestermarathon.co.uk.

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