In what was a busy weekend of racing across the north of England with marathons taking place in Yorkshire and Kielder, however Chester showed that it can more than hold its own with the big-hitters with over 2,600 runners competing in its annual 26.2 mile race, plus a further 1,000 taking part in the accompanying Metric Marathon.
Since its inception in 2009, the MBNA Chester Marathon has received considerable praise and was voted as the UK's number 1 marathon in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, organisers introduced a new event in the Metric Marathon, a 26.2k race that has proven to be highly popular.
The marathon saw runners depart from Chester city centre, move south of the Dee towards Farndon and Holt, loop over the border into Wales before returning for a grandstand finish at the racecourse.
Mercia Fell’s Lloyd Biddell was the first to enjoy the grandstand ovation at the racecourse when he crossed the line first in 2:26:11, a substantial PB for the runner who finished seventh at April’s ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon. London Heathside’s Tom Aldred took second in 2:27:31, while Stuart Hawkes who finished first at Brighton Marathon, claimed third in 2:28:10.
Sheffield RC’s Sarah Lowery also bagged a PB on route to her victory in the female competition in 2:44:24, with Sarah Webster second in 2:48:30 and Gateshead Harriers’ Michelle Nolan-Wood claiming third in 2:48:47.
Sunday’s event was tinged with tragedy, however, after news emerged of one runner, Trevor Cording, suffering from a cardiac arrest during the Metric Marathon. The father-of-three, a member of Northwich Running Club later passed away at Chester Hospital.
A statement from organisers Chris Hulse and Andy White read: “We speak for everyone involved with the Chester Marathon when we say we’re all deeply saddened after the news that following a cardiac episode one of our runners has passed away during the event today. Our thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends.”
Northwich Running Club also paid a heartfelt tribute: “Trevor inspired so many runners at NRC he was certainly no ordinary bloke. We all loved his detailed and analytical posts of his training runs, they both motivated and also at times made some of us green with envy over his approach to training.”