An optometrist is running the Chester Marathon on Sunday as a big birthday challenge.

Helen Kirk, who works at C & G Mullen in St Werburgh Street, has already far completed seven half marathons including the Chester event.

Optician Helen Kirk with her friend Bernie Stephens at the end of the Chester Half Marathon in 2013
Optician Helen Kirk with her friend Bernie Stephens at the end of the Chester Half Marathon in 2013
 

She said: “I have a big birthday coming up next year (I am not telling you which one!) and decided that, as it was getting harder to get faster, I needed a new challenge. The obvious thing seemed to be to try a longer distance.

“I chose Chester Marathon firstly because it’s my home event but also because it’s in October giving me a chance to train and build my fitness up through the light summer evenings rather than the cold, dark winter ones.

“In the past I have run for charity but decided that this was a challenge just for me. People ask if I have a finishing time in mind; as it’s my first marathon, my aim is to finish. At the end of the day, it’s going to be the longest I’ve ever run and will therefore be a personal best!”

Helen has been training with three other first-time marathon runners, following a plan set out by Mark Harrison from Dynamics Dance & Fitness in Hoole.

She said: “We meet once a week for training which is a great time to swap the week’s experiences and stories. Training has been hard work so we’re all really looking forward to crossing the finish line our completing our first marathons.”

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Day in the Life: Helen Kirk, optometrist at C&G Mullen opticians

Top tips for runners in the Chester Marathon 2014