A RECORD number of runners will take to the streets of Chester on Sunday for one of the biggest events on the city’s sporting calendar.
This year’s Cheshire Oaks Chester Half Marathon will be contested by a field of 5,000 athletes – the largest yet in the race’s 30-year history.
Starting at Chester Racecourse, runners will follow a new route for 2012 – leaving the city via Parkgate Road and running up towards Two Mills before passing over the A494 and returning through Saughall and Blacon for a finish at Chester Town Hall square.
Race director Andy White said: “The people of Chester have always responded warmly to this event and it is exciting that the new route takes the runners through places where the race passed in its early days.
“Saughall and Blacon residents have always been especially supportive. Veterans of the half marathon will recall local residents deploying their hoses to help them cool down on sweltering race days!”
Cooler conditions are forecast for this year’s race, which starts at 9am and will take about 70 minutes for elite athletes to complete. The majority of runners will take up to two hours to finish the 13-1.mile course, providing plenty of opportunity for spectators to line the route and cheer people on.
For the first time in the half-marathon’s history, it will take place entirely on closed roads. This is a safety measure which has been taken due to the large number of runners taking part.
There were just over 2,100 finishers last year – but the entry limit has been upped to 5,000 by organisers Active Leisure Events.
The race has reached its limit and there will be no entries taken on the day, although families will be able to sign up to a fun run which starts at the same time as the half-marathon. The one-mile race will follow the inner ring of Chester Racecourse.
Chester Town Crier David Mitchell will start the main race, with the fun run being started by Alex Davies, a pupil of Neston High School who has muscular dystrophy.
Alex will be representing the race’s chosen charity this year, Northern Lights.
Motorists should note that there will be road closures on Sunday in the city centre and also in Bache, Mollington, Saughall, Woodbank, Shotwick, Ledsham, Capenhurst and Shotwick Park.