Monday, 18 May 2015

Chester Half Marathon by Nicola Young

Chester Half Marathon
Sunday May 17th 2015

Yesterday 10 A&T members took on the challenge of Chester Half Marathon, each with their targets to meet for their morning’s work.  On checking the weather forecast on the run up to the event, a cloudy day with a fairly strong breeze was predicted.  It felt quite chilly as we assembled at Chester Race Course on the morning but a few glimpses of sunshine stopped all runners from getting too cold and the strong winds held off for us.  Pretty much perfect conditions really.  The bag drop was in close proximity to the start, meaning that we could all hold onto our things until the last minute!  There were portaloos-a-plenty, meaning that athletes could pay as many visits as they liked before we lined up for the start. 
This was a fairly big event, with around 7,000 runners registered, but runners weren’t placed in waves or allocated different start times.  Instead, they were invited to position themselves around their predicted finish times at the start of the course.  I went in front of the 2 hour markers, as I wanted to get a head start ahead of my target time.  As soon as we had assembled, the Mayor of Chester made his announcements and the faster runners were away.  It took about 4 minutes from the gum for me to make it through the start  line which, triggered my first automated Facebook alert of the day. 
I have limited experiences of half-marathons, however I would say that the run did feel as congested as the Great North Run, which has lots more runners.  I would also suggest that this was not the flat course which it had been sold as!  I had been advised by many a fellow runner that there was “a hill at the end”, however there were quite a few hills throughout the course.  Although most of them were soon over with and didn’t feel too taxing, “THE hill” at the end was certainly unwelcome as it was fairly steep and came at the point when one’s breakfast had been well and truly used up!  Overall, the course was a nice route and there was a real buzz near the finish line in the centre of Chester.  Nice medal, t-shirt and a carrier bag with lots of new varieties of Squashies to try.
With regards to club member results, first over the line for team A&T was Stephen Coleman with a super quick time of 1:26:23.  Stephen came 10th in his age category .  Second for the team was Ian Joslin with a PB of 1:27:18.  First lady home was Susan Fletcher with a time of 1:39:50 and 16th in her category.  Next were Louise Simpson and Chris Bennett.  Louise managed a PB time of 1:45:16, supported by Chris.  There is no stopping the dynamic duo right now!  Paul Basnett had a hard week of racing and after realising the course wasn’t the easiest, he decided to treat it as a “fast training run” and achieved a time of 1:49:43.  The next finisher was Rachel Haslam who achieved a time of 1:54:08, reducing her PB by a huge 5 minutes.  I was next in 1:55:45.  This was a PB of around 6 minutes and I learned that half marathons are still not easy but they are a whole lot easier if you haven’t got a massive blood blister under foot……  Abbie Eckersley completed the course next for the girls in 1:57:34, in spite of declaring that she hadn’t done any training for the event at all!  Jason Revill came home in 2:09:48.
A walk back then to the race course to collect our bags and to congratulate friends and runners before returning home with our new bit of bling and boring our non-running nearest and dearest with the stat’s of the day!

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