Sunday’s Chester Half Marathon witnessed both its highest turnout in over 30 years plus a new course record holder in Mohammed Abu-Rezeq. Almost 7,000 runners tackled the race in resplendent sunshine, with a further 500 taking part in the family fun run.
The half marathon saw competitors depart from Chester Racecourse, before heading up Watergate Street, through The Walls, along the inner ring road to Fountains roundabout. Shortly before Two Mills, the runners started their return to Chester, via Woodbank, Saughall and back onto Parkgate Road and a City Centre finish by the Town Hall and Cathedral.
Abu-Rezeq, who won last year’s event, took a commanding lead from the beginning and never looked back, finishing in 65:48, over two minutes quicker than his 2013 time. Tarus Elly followed in 69:56, with Kenilworth Harriers’ Chris McCarthy rounding off the podium positions (62:38).
Abu-Rezeq later commented: “I led the race from start to finish yesterday, and found it pretty comfortable as I’m familiar with the route after winning last year. The weather was really warm, but the wind helped me get round in good time. This was the best time I’ve ever done in a UK race, and I’ll be back again next year to try to beat it again.”
In the women’s competition, Gemma Connolly was the convincing victor in 1:22:20. Second place went to Sophie Hunt in 1:26:47, with Rebecca Lewis in third position. Carl Ashton was the mid-point competitor in 2:02:36, while the last runner came home in 4:01:17.
Race organiser, Chris Hulse from Active Leisure Events said: “I am delighted with the smooth running of this year’s event. Despite the warm weather there was a welcome breeze. It was a great day, and the crowds have been out en masse to support our runners every step of the way. Everyone’s hard work over the past year has really paid off in making the event a success once again. Events like this don’t happen on their own so we would like to thank all our volunteers and sponsors for all their efforts in making the Chester Half Marathon so special."