Chester Half Marathon Race Report by Gareth Houghton
Sunday 17th May 2015, saw the 34th Chester Half Marathon. It was a pretty good day for running, mainly cloudy, not too hot albeit with a bit of wind (nothing too taxing though). It was a sellout race with all 7000 places having been sold well in advance.
A good turnout from Buckley saw 17 runners overall running the race, with two of them acting as pacers for the day, they were Steve Bellis (2:00) and Rob Davis (2:30). The start was at Chester Racecourse which was very busy from about 8am.
A few of us met up in advance for a quick chinwag and a group photo, before disappearing to our respective start positions. The race finally got underway, unusually a few minutes before the planned 9am start.
The race heads out of the racecourse and straight away climbs up Watergate St before turning left onto St Martins Way, from here it heads to the Fountains Roundabout and then a long downhill along Parkgate Road out of Chester. I was actually surprised how hilly this was having never run it before and really struggled to get pace right for at least the first couple of miles. It then climbs a little up to the Mollington Banastre Hotel at about 3 miles, before flattening out. It was around here I was overtaken by both Eric Campbell and Paul Stinton, who seemed to be flying.
I know the use of the words “hilly” and “climb” may seem extreme for Chester, especially to those in our Club who regularly run up the fells, but that is definitely how it felt on the day 🙂
The race then heads out over the A494, almost to “Two Mills”, where there was a good build up of support, before turning around and heading back (surprisingly this was still only 6 miles in), It then heads down a side lane and then back over the A494.
It was at this point that I started to find it getting harder and my pace began to drop a little, especially over the A494 bridge. It was not long after that the 1:30 pacers caught me up, I managed to keep with them for about half a mile before they then left me behind. At this point we were coming into Saughall and were rewarded with some much needed support to cheer us on.
From here the race heads back to Parkgate Road and joins at about mile 10 and so begins the last slog back to Chester. At this point the race organisers were heading out and clearing up from the back of the race.
Coming back into Chester again saw some good support, especially around Dee Point School, where a man was hosing down the runners. It was now mile 12 and so began the last slog up into town, where I got overtaken by Rob Mahoney, before heading down Cheyney Road, on to Bouverie Street. After this there was one last climb up towards Northgate Street, where there was a really good build up of support. This spurred me on and I managed to beat 6 people with a last minute sprint over the line – Job Done.
Well done to everyone who took part, some good times and PB’s, especially the pacers who provide a great service to runners. Overall a great day and a very well organised race. Out of the 7000, there were 5652 runners on the day, results for the club as follows (based on chip postions & times)
- Eric Campbell – 121 – 1:24:41
- Paul Stinton – 134 – 1:25:22
- Rob Mahoney – 313 – 1:30:32
- Gareth Houghton – 342 – 1:31:12
- Jonathan Bradshaw – 357 – 01:31:39
- Lee Wasnidge – 488 – 1:34:00
- Paul Wilcockson – 1181 – 1:43:01
- Phil Tugwell – 1489 – 1:46:07
- Lisa Gittins – 1601 – 1:47:09
- Stu Jones – 1793 – 1:48:46
- Marcus Reid – 2161 – 1:52:39
- Steve Bellis – 3092 – 1:59:53
- Amanda Garner – 3678 – 2:05:27
- Colin Hawkins – 4282 – 2:12:24
- Amanda Mountford – 4283 – 2:12:24
- Jason Dwan – 4299 – 2:12:36
- Rob Davies – 5180 – 2:29:58