This Sunday will see a record number of runners take to the streets for the Chester Half Marathon.
With everyone running for a cause close to their heart we asked readers to send in their stories of why they are stepping up to the challenge.
Cristin and Daniel Edmunds from Chester are part of a team of runners who will be raising funds for Alder Hey Children’s Charity for Upton youngster Erin Cross, who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Cristin, a mental health support worker, said: “Daniel and I got to know Sarah and Ant in antenatal classes when we were both having our babies, we became good friends ever since and our girls love playing together.
“When we found out Erin was ill we were devastated for them and wanted to do anything to help. Since Erin was diagnosed Alder Hey have done amazing things for her and the family have helped to raise a lot of money to help others like them.
“The family have an army of concerned supporters who are always trying to do something for Erin and the children at Alder Hey. This is my first half marathon so I'm expecting it to be a bit of a challenge but luckily Daniel will be running alongside me. Our three-year-old daughter Amelie will also be running a mile in the fun run round the racecourse.”
Cristin's fundraising page is www.justgiving.com/CristinEdmunds
Sarah Connolly an accountant at UHY Hacker Young Chartered Accountants is also running as part of Team Erin Cross.
Sarah is running her first half marathon but did run the Manchester 10k last year.
Sarah's fundraising page is www.justgiving.com/run-for-erin
Clare Shaw , 40, a staff nurse at Countess of Chester Hospital is also running as part of the Erin Cross fundraising team for Alder Hey.
Clare only started running two years ago and ran the Chester Half last year for Wirral and Chester prostrate support group.
She said: “I’m hoping to beat my time of last year. I'm no athlete though, I just find running the ideal way to get some exercise, I don’t have much free time as I have two children.
“I have been inspired by the strength of Sarah and Anthony Cross, how they are able to not only support Erin throughout treatment but also ensure that she, where able, lives and plays just like any little girl her age. On top of this they do a tremendous job fundraising for Alder Hey.
Clare's fundraising page is www.justgiving.com/Clare-Shaw74 .
A GP at the Helsby practice and a tutor at University of Liverpool Medical School only found out in January that she had been unknowingly entered for the marathon by her ‘good’ friends.
Dr Rachel Holiday, of Mollington, is raising money for The Christie Hospital in Manchester in memory of her friend, Helen Carroll, who died in March this year.
Rachel who met Helen in her first term at medical school in 1992, said: “Helen became a great friend, a housemate, a godmother to our eldest daughter and ultimately, an inspiration.
“She had received treatment from The Christie Hospital during her illness with inflammatory breast cancer and had raised money for their trust as recently as autumn 2013 when she ran The Great North Run despite her ongoing treatment.”
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/Rachel-Holliday1
Melanie Booth , 23, of Christleton, is running this year’s Chester Half marathon with her friends, Becki Bell and Claire Erskine . They are running to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of Mel's mum Judy who lost her battle with cancer in January this year at the age of 60.
To donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/2brunettesand1ginger
Pete Bowker a former Army sniper who lost his leg whilst serving in Afganistan will be running with a special blade on his right leg.
Pete, 27, joined the army at 15 and was part of a reconnaissance team in Helmund Province when his vehicle drove over a roadside bomb in 2008.
Pete, originally from Connah’s Quay but who now lives in Handbridge, is also hoping to be the world’s first amputee to cross the Greenland Ice Cap as part of the ‘65 Degrees North’ challenge in May 2015.
He said: “I am hoping for a time of about 2 hours 10 mins but really I just want to beat my girlfriend Rebecca Hughes who is the reason I am running the race.”
To find out more about Pete’s Gteenland challenge, visit www.facebook.com/65degreesnorth .
Elaine Smithies , a 40-year-old freelance TV director from Hoole is running in memory of her friend and colleague Luke Lacey who died just before Christmas after a decade-long battle with cancer.
Elaine is raising money for The Neuroblastoma Society at justgiving.com/ElaineRuns
If you are running the Chester Half Marathon? Tell us all about it here: