Records were smashed left, right and centre at the fourth MBNA Chester Marathon.
Not only has this year been the races biggest to date with more than 4,500 entries, but both the male and female course records were also beaten.
Leading the runners to the finish, and shaving almost six minutes off the previous course record of 2 hours 27 minutes and 24 seconds, was Ukranian born Marius Ionescu who runs for Altrincham AC, finishing in a time of 2 hours, 21minutes and 42 seconds.
Ben Jones, who lives in Wirral followed shortly after, finishing in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 57 seconds, also comfortably beating the former course record.
Claiming the title in the women’s race was Barnsley’s Julie Briscoe, who also created a new female course record, completing the 26.2 mile race in 2 hours, 40 minutes and 26 seconds. The previous course record stood at 2 hours, 48 minutes and 11 seconds.
Marius and Julie both took home £2,000 after receiving £1,250 each for claiming the top spot, and an added bonus of £750 for breaking the male and female course records.
Andy White, joint race organiser, said: “We are thrilled to have a new course record, demonstrating the speed of the route here in Chester.”
Aside from the elite field, more 3,000 marathon runners turned out to enjoy one of the North West’s biggest marathons, facing ideal conditions with glorious sunshine throughout the day.
The MBNA Chester Marathon currently holds the title as the UK’s Number One Marathon, pipping the likes of London, Brighton and Edinburgh to the post
It was all smiles in the Mini Marathon as well, as 250 children and families took part in the 1 mile race, which starts and finishes inside Chester Racecourse.
The race was won by Sophie Smith from Nantwich, who finished in 5 minutes and 15 seconds.
She said: “I entered with my seven-year-old sister as our dad was running the marathon and we wanted to be a part of the event as well. It’s good to feel that you’re a part of the main event, which I’d really like to do when I’m old enough.”
Joint race organiser Chris Hulse added: “This year’s event was a great success.
“We’d like to thank all the event team, volunteers and sponsors for working so tirelessly, as they do every year to make the event a success.
“We would also like to say a huge thanks to our TriActive Pace Runners, a first for this year’s race, who worked so hard in the sunshine to get our participants across the finish line in their target times.
“The event wouldn’t be the same without the thousands of participants who have pushed themselves to the limit and raised a lot of money for charity, along with the spectators around the route who create such a buzzing atmosphere”.
This year’s marathon is expected to raise in excess of £500,000 for good causes.
Early bird entries for the 2014 MBNA Chester Marathon will open next Monday, October 14. To enter, go to www.chestermarathon.co.uk .
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