Over 6,000 runners took to Chester Racecourse on Sunday for the city's 32nd half marathon. The event saw a tight finish between Mohammad Aburezeq and his training partner Tarus Elly, with Aburezeq taking victory with less than two seconds to spare.
The race, now called the Nike Running Challenge Chester half marathon after a sponsorship deal earlier this month, saw runners leave from Chester Racecourse and finish in the city centre. Kenyan-born Aburezeq, who now lives in Manchester, completed the course in 1:08:07, with Elly, from Salford, close behind in 1:08:09 and Dave Mitchinson of Newham & Essex Beagles in third (1:08:34).
Aburezeq commented: "I've never run the race here in Chester before but it was a really good, fast course, with only a few small hills along the way to challenge me. I train with Tarus Elly every day, so we worked together today to win the race. We've both really enjoyed it and hope to be back again next year."
Victory in the women's race belonged to 27 year old Amanda Crooke, from Southport Waterloo. Crooke crossed the finish line in a time of 1:14:32, shaving over 12 minutes off her previous personal best and achieving a new race record for the fastest female finisher, which hasn't been broken since 1985. Claire Martin was second behind in 1:19:41, with Sophie Ward third 1:22:07. Of the 4810 competitors to finish the race, Dave Woodcock was the mid-point runner in 1:57:10, with the final participant coming home in 3:43:44.
Speaking post-race, Crooke said she was surprised by her victory: "I'm so thrilled that I achieved a new PB today in Chester. I have a seven month old baby, and tried to maintain my running throughout my pregnancy, but I didn't expect to do so well today, I'm absolutely overjoyed."
Co-organiser, Chris Hulse from Active Leisure Events commented: "Today's event was a great success. All the hard work and planning was rewarded when we had the opportunity to personally congratulate runners as they crossed the finish line with beaming smiles on their faces - that's the reason we do it and it really makes it all worthwhile.