With over 5000 runners taking part in 2014 the Chester Marathon has grown quite considerably since it was setup in 2010. This massive growth along with being voted the UK's number 1 marathon in 2012 made us want to see for ourselves what all the hype was about! We sent Rachel Orton over to Chester to find out if this event really is one of the best the UK has to offer
I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now, reading up on the course I found out it was a nice and flat route so perfect for some personal bests! Finding out one of my friends has run it before gave me even more encouragement as she said it was a great marathon to do.
Training and Preparation
Normally I train quite hard for longer distances like marathons and half marathons but unfortunately I couldn’t get into a good rhythm for this one, I was already booked in to take part in some obstacle races the weekend before and the weekend after. I still kept up my normal routine which is to go running for 6 miles twice a week, spinning, metafit, insanity and weights. This gave me a great base level of fitness for the Chester Marathon but not quite the level I was hoping for to take advantage of the flat course.
Wanting a secret weapon I decided to go out and treat myself to some new running shoes for this event, I went to Sweatshop as they have a great service which entails measuring and analysing your running to make sure the trainers are a perfect fit. After they worked their magic I came away with some nice New Balance 1080 v4 running shoes. I also decided to take a Garmin Forerunner 2015 GPS along to the race to track by progress, a 3 litre camelback and my normal running attire.
The venue was really easy to find and there was plenty of parking on the racecourse, which was quite cheap at £3. They had a big marque with exhibitors, help desk and lots of loos. When I arrived I headed to the registration tent and picked up my race number, it had a timing chip built in and my name on it which is really nice and a little weird when people cheer you on with your name!
The start line was clearly marked and had an announcer getting everyone’s spirits going. They also had pacers to help you finish in your goal time, I thought this was a great addition. I spent a little time with one of them, a very funny pacer who had speakers on and lots of banter with her group.
The volunteers were great, cheering you on, shouting your name (off your number), passing you water, lucozade and energy gels. The crowd were dotted along most of the course with a lot of locals standing in their gardens cheering you on. The announcer was great towards the finish line with plenty of banter as you finished the race with a well-organised finishing funnel where you collected your finishers medal, t-shirt, goody bag and had a picture taken. You can then go into a big field to meet up with your friends and stretch off.
Personally I absolutely loved this race, it wasn’t the easiest marathon I've ever done but I would definitely do it again. The attitudes of the runners, supporters and volunteers was completely amazing!
Find out more about the 2016 Chester Marathon here