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Essar Oil UK, owner and operator of the Stanlow plant, has been announced as the new title sponsor of the Chester Half Marathon .

Now in its 35th year, the event is the north west’s popular half marathon and has been organised by Active Leisure since 2012. The 2016 race will take place on Sunday, May 15.

Essar acquired Stanlow, the UK’s second largest oil refinery, from Shell in 2011 and employs hundreds of people at the site.

Chris Hulse, joint race organiser and commercial director, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Essar as title sponsor for the race. The valuable support of Essar secures the future and on-going development of a race that draws people from all over the country as well as producing some impressive elite competition.

Since taking over the race we have radically overhauled the route to increase the capacity of the event. The 13.1 mile route takes runners from the Racecourse on traffic free roads, through the city centre and out through Mollington and Saughall, returning to Chester for an amazing city centre finish.

The course allows up to 7,000 runners to take part, and such is the popularity of the race that even at that level the race still sells out every year.”

Naresh Nayyar, Essar Oil UK executive chairman, said:

“The Chester Half Marathon is a long established and high profile event, which over the years has grown increasingly popular within the running community.  As a major regional employer, we are pleased to be able to support such a well-known local event and look forward to working with the race organisers on the continued development of the race to provide the best possible experience for all those taking part.”

Race director Andy White added:

“We have been delighted with the feedback that we get from runners, especially about the spectacular finish by the Town Hall and Cathedral which has also done much to create an unforgettable experience for the athletes.

This year, in response to runner requests, we have modified the route to take them through more of the city at the start of the race. As Chester residents ourselves, we are proud of our home city and enjoy the opportunity to show off its great heritage.”

Stanlow produces 16% of UK road transport fuels. As well as supplying many of the major oil company high street retail brands and supermarkets, Essar now has four service stations with ambitious plans to grow the business into a national network.

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