The cold, crisp weather on Sunday (2 October) made way for some perfect running conditions for the 4,000 plus runners who tackled the MBNA Chester Marathon. The race was celebrating its 7th year as Blackburn Harriers’ Ben Fish secured top spot in 2:24:05, with Fife AC’s Katie Jones leading the female field home.
Since its inception in 2009, 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.
Fish had company in Daniel Kestrel for much of the race but managed to pull away at the 24 mile mark. The 34-year-old, who also tasted success at the Milton Keynes Marathon in May, finished some 50 seconds ahead of Kestrel (2:24:56) with Andrew Davies (2:26:28) third. In the women’s competition, Jones crossed the line first in 2:53:36, with Emma Ballantyne of City of York AC (2:55:03) and Rachel Jones of Salford Harriers (2:56:16).
Accompanying the marathon for the third year was the metric event, which drew close to 1,000 runners. Wrexham AC’s Darren Rowlands completed the 26.2 kilometre route first in 1:34:56 followed by Ian Hammett of Bedford Harriers AC (1:38:32), with Steven Pennington of Salford Harriers (1:42:15). Mary Western was the first woman to cross the line in 1:53:51, followed by Fiona Cook of Northwich RC (1:55:11) and Louise Blizzard of Belgrave Harriers (1:56:17).
Race organiser Chris Hulse commented: “This year’s MBNA Chester Marathon has been better than ever before and I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping us make it such as success, from the runners and the spectators to the sponsors and the rest of the organising team.”