The MBNA Chester Marathon underlined its status as one of the emerging marathons in the north west with more than 3,000 runners taking part in Sunday's race. The event saw Hunters Bog Trotters' Ray Ward cross the line first in 2:28:46, with Mel Frazier of Gravesend RR & AC top in the female field.
The 7,000 spectators who dotted the route throughout Chester city were greeted with sunshine on a bright, cool morning. Starting at Chester racecourse, the course took runners into the city centre, passing the Town Hall and Cathedral, before crossing the border into Wales and the villages of Lavister and Rossett. On re-entering the city, runners passed the River Dee along the Groves and Castle Drive before a triumphant finish at the racecourse.
After passing the mid-point at the same time as Anthony Valentine, Ward gradually opened up a lead to finish a minute ahead of his nearest rival. Valentine (2:29:47) was followed by Bridlington Road Runners' Phil Taylor in 2:32:40.
In the women's field, Mel Frazier secured top billing and a well-deserved PB as she covered the course in 2:51:48, nearly two minutes ahead of Sophie Carter of Woodstock Harriers (2:53:43) followed by Alison Hopkins of Ealing Southall & Middlesex (2:57:51). Of the finishers, Gareth Rowe was the mid-point runner in 3:58:22, with the last competitor came home in 6:54:30
Speaking to northernrunningguide.com, organiser Chris Hulse said he was delighted by the feedback he has received: ""There were some truly excellent performances and we hear many runners achieved personal best times - the feedback we have received tells us that yet again the course has been a big hit with participants who were impressed with everything the race had to offer."
Entries for the 2013 marathon open early next month, for more information visit the event website.