Almost 5000 participants enjoyed close to perfect conditions for the fifth year of the MBNA Chester Marathon on Sunday. Romanian born Marius Ionescu successfully defended his title and set a course record in the process, Cath Stibbs leading the female field home.
Since being introduced in 2009, Chester Marathon has established itself as one of the top events in the country, voted as the UK's number 1 marathon in 2012 and 2013. This year saw the introduction of the metric marathon, a 26.2k race that is seen as the ideal way to prepare for the full marathon.
Altrincham’s Ionescu, third in July’s Bupa Great North 10K, finished in 2:21:23, an 18 second improvement on his 2013 course record. Hermitage Harriers’ Matt Adcock took second in 2:28:06, with Thomas Beedell third (2:28:06). Ionescu’s victory means he will receive a cash prize of £2,000.
In the women’s competition, Kent AC’s Cath Stibbs set a sizeable PB of 2:53:25 to take first place, with Melissah Gibson in second in 2:55:07 and Catherine Lee third (2:56:32). Stibbs later commented: “This is the 10th marathon I’ve run and it was by far the best – 13 minutes off my previous PB, which I got two years ago in London, so it says it all.”
Chris Hulse, joint race organiser, added: “This year’s event was a great success. Together with our partners and volunteers, we have put a lot of hard work and planning into ensuring things ran smoothly for all the runners, and it has definitely paid off.
“We’d like to thank all the event team, volunteers and sponsors for working so tirelessly, as they do every year to make the event a success. We would also like to say a huge thanks to our Big Let Pace Runners worked so hard in the sunshine to get our participants across the finish line in their target times.
Organisers have revealed that the event is expected to raise in excess of £500,000 for good causes, with the lead charity Cancer Research UK. Early bird entries for the 2015 race will open on Monday 13 October.