Chester Half Marathon Race Review by Hannah Owen

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My Story: Running The 2018 Chester Half Marathon

I raced my first ever half marathon last month.

After being stuck in a little-more-than-5k rut for some time, I decided in January to sign up to both Chester Road Runners, and the Chester Half Marathon.

Soon the big day was upon us, and I was heeding all advice and standing in the long pre-race toilet queue. That 10 minutes was a mental calculation as to whether I’d make it before 8.59 with enough time to wade through the mud to get to the 2:20:00 starting line.

I made it in time for the 9am gunshot. After another 6 anxious minutes of walking, our wave eventually crossed the starting line. My race had begun. We were greeted immediately with hundreds of spectators clapping, phones snapping and kids waving.

With the aid of hundreds of cheering Cestrians, the first mile was a walk in the park. It wasn’t until we reached the bridge to Mollington that the reality of those long miles ahead dawned on me.

The long, slow road through Mollington, luckily, was punctuated with high fiving children and young up-and-coming bands playing music with a rhythm designed to keep our legs going.

It was 40 minutes until doubt really crept in. I had to stop and walk. I was overtaken by a gentleman who must have been three times my age, who demanded I keep going. What could have been a 4-mile-in, exhausted and demotivated plod turned onto a 5 second walk before chuckling, regaining momentum, and overtaking the good sport ;).

I’m certain I wasn’t alone in telling myself to keep running, as I’d promised myself “Garden Lane will be tough, you can walk for 10 seconds then”. However, there was no chance of that with the ever-growing, wonderfully aggressive spectators lining the streets to get us through.

A woman in front of me stopped to walk at the top of Garden Lane and someone approached her, and after sincerely checking if she was okay, told her “KEEP RUNNING!”.

Finally reaching Northgate Street, I was spellbound by the wall of cheering, screaming and waving – the perfect backdrop to pick up pace for a sprint finish!

Completing a home race was amazing; being able to walk from home to race and back, being able to pre-empt the hills, but most importantly of all, the amazing support!!!

I raced my first ever half marathon last month. And I can’t wait to do it again..

Chester Half Marathon Review 2018

Wirral Way Half Marathon Review by Sarah Webber

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8th January 2017 – The Wirral Way 13.1 Trail Half Marathon

So, the day had arrived for me to run my first ever half marathon! Of course, I cannot compare this particular half to any other but I can write about my own experience.

The Wirral Way half marathon is a brand new race – this year being its first and so I was not the only newbie here! Luckily for me I’d managed a couple of training runs with some club members prior to the race. These were organised by Tony Hill and followed a good portion of the course so I was able to become accustomed to the route. Starting close to Hooton train station there was plenty of parking available for those who needed it, however, as I was dropped off at the start and picked up at the finish, I can’t comment on the efficiency of the free bus service from the finish back to the start for anyone who had left their car there.

The start of the race was staggered in fifteen minutes intervals to avoid congestion which appeared to work well, however, if you had planned to arrive and run with a buddy there could have been up to two hours between their start time and yours if you were to be placed in different groups.

The route itself is quite pretty, following the Wirral way which offered a flat terrain – ideal for a first half! The course was fairly well marshalled although I would have liked to have seen some more supporters along the way, perhaps this lack of supporters was due to the infancy of the race. The entirety of route was open to the public and so the runners all saw a great number of walkers, cyclists, and horse riders but this didn’t cause any problems for me. At roughly ten miles the route takes you straight past the finish and then loops back around for the final stretch which I found quite tough psychologically, a feeling I don’t think I was alone in. Fortunately, my morale was boosted by the presence of my family who had parked at the finish to watch me cross the finish line. They were a great support at both the ten-mile marker and at the finish where I came in at a very respectable time of two hours and nineteen minutes.
In conclusion, I would certainly recommend this race to anyone wanting to run their first half marathon as the course is flat and can be run beforehand to familiarise yourself with the route. However, seasoned half marathon runners may find it a little boring with its lack of either interesting landmarks or atmosphere along the way.

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