Sunday saw perfect running conditions as nearly 6,000 runners and an army of spectators took to the streets for the 2017 Essar Chester Half Marathon.
The event, now in its 36th year, was hailed as an outstanding success and it is estimated that a record amount will have been raised for charity.
One of the central aims of the Essar Chester Half Marathon is to support charities and local communities. It is expected that the runners will raise in excess of £600,000 for charitable causes, with Claire House Children’s Hospice being the official race charity for 2017.
Mohammad Aburezeq of Altrincham and District AC was this year’s winner in a time of 1:07:20 followed by Ben Russell of Liverpool Harriers AC (1:09:30) and Tarus Elly of Salford Harriers AC (1:09:53).
The first woman to cross the line was last year’s winner Julie Briscoe of Wakefield District Harriers AC who finished in a time of 1:17:06 followed by Gemma Connolly of St Helens Sutton AC (1:20:17) and Jenny Watt of Vale Royal AC (1:24:53).
Mohammed, who was placed third last year, said: “I love this race. A great course with lots of encouragement from spectators and volunteers.”
The runners in the main race were joined by a record 800 children who charged round Chester Racecourse in the one mile fun run.
Race director Andy White, of Active Leisure Events, said: “From start to finish this has been a race to remember. We are absolutely delighted with the number of athletes, volunteers and supporters who have all played their part in making it such a remarkable day.
“From what runners have already told us it is clear that a massive thank you is due to the local communities, especially those of Mollington, Saughall and the Garden Quarter, for their vocal and enthusiastic support.”
Joint race organiser Chris Hulse said: “We would like to give thanks to our title sponsor Essar and associate sponsors Mitchell Group, Innospec, Total Fitness, High 5 and Lucozade Sport.
“We could not host the event without the amazing volunteers, organisations and groups, who give the race its unique and friendly character. All have helped us to deliver a memorable and inspirational event for Chester. Our aim is to continue to develop and improve the race as we strive to become the UK’s favourite half marathon.”
Sophie Chilvers, running and challenge fundraiser at Claire House, said: “Claire House are overwhelmed at the amount of people who are running for us in the Chester Half Marathon.
“We are so proud to be the official charity of the event and we are lucky that so many people within the local community are pounding the streets of Chester to support their local children’s hospice.
“Claire House are currently looking after more families than ever before and it is only because of amazing people that do incredible things such as run a half marathon.”
Ian Cotton of Essar said: “Essar is proud to be the title sponsor of this prestigious event and it is fantastic to see so many local people getting involved in it either as runners or as part of the army of volunteers that make it happen.”
Entries for the Essar Chester 2018 Half Marathon are already open, with an ‘early bird’ 30% discount for those who enter before June 30. The 2018 race will be held on Sunday, April 29.