Changes have been made to this year's Essar Chester Half Marathon to make it even better for runners and spectators.

A record number of athletes will pound the city streets this Sunday (May 15), taking a slightly different route to previous years.

Following suggestions from runners, the early part of the course will take in more of the city centre. It means more people should be able to cheer competitors on before they head out into the countryside.

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Race Director Andy White of Active Leisure Events said: “The route offers fantastic opportunities for spectators with the city Rows providing ideal vantage points.

“Equally, the finishing straight down Northgate Street always attracts massive crowds as does the memorable finish at Chester Town Hall square.

“While the elite runners finish the 13.1 miles of the race in just over an hour, the majority of the runners will take up to two hours and more, providing plenty of opportunity for spectating.”

The race route for the 2016 Essar Chester Half Marathon
The race route for the 2016 Essar Chester Half Marathon

From the event’s traditional base at Chester Racecourse , the runners will head up Watergate Street, then turn right at Nicholas Street to sweep around via Grosvenor Road to Bridge Street through to Northgate Street and out up Parkgate Road into the countryside.

The race will be started at 9am by the Chester Town Crier with the fun run being launched shortly after by BBC TV presenter Louise Minchin , who is a patron of the main race charity The Babygrow Appeal.

Further information about the event, including how to volunteer to help, can be found at www.chesterhalfmarathon.co.uk .