Sunday 17th May 2015 and it was race day!
9 weeks following the birth of our baby daughter Jessica (and with my training limited) I joined others from the #ukrunchat community at the Race course in Chester for the Chester Half Marathon wearing my Aftershokz headphones.
The start was on the race course itself and there was plenty of people there when I arrived to pick up my race number (7000 started the race).
The facilities were great and the entertainment was provided by Capital FM. There was a real buzz as I lined up for the start of the race.
Just over 3 minutes later and I was crossing the start line and heading out of the racecourse and up Watergate street towards Chester. The first of 3 inclines, though you don’t really notice it at the start as you’re focused on finding your rhythm and pace.
The crowds lined the streets and cheered people on as we made our way up and out of the city.
The weather was good; not too hot and not raining!
Making our way out of Chester the crowds reduced but there were still people out on the route cheering the runners on. There were bands playing as made our way out of Chester along Parkgate road.
The atmosphere was great and in my mind I was saying; “it felt wonderful to be part of such a big Sunday run!”
I was fortunate to have a friend and #ukrunchat community member (Paula) running with me. She thought I was running in support of her, though she realised at mile 12 it was the other way round!
As we neared the half way point runners started to loop back along the run which was great to see. It acted as additional motivation seeing other runners coming both ways.
Half way there and we turned off down a country lane. just as we had begun taking in the beautiful scenery we were suddenly met with a hill up ahead. The hill was up to a bridge over the bypass. I gritted my teeth and pretended it wasn’t bothering me!
The following 4 miles or so took us further into the countryside and I was impressed that there were still people out cheering the runners on. I’d forgotten to put my name on my vest but was enjoying hear other runners names getting shouted out.
As we got closer to the city a kind supporter had switched on a hose pipe and was spraying runners as they ran past. Grateful and feeling tired there was just over 1 mile to go. My legs weren’t looking froward to the final incline into the city centre. My running partner Paula nudged me along and got me within sight of the finishing line.
The streets were jam-packed with people cheering and it became a blur of colour. I crossed the line with nothing left in the tank and a time of 2:07:08. As I collected my medal and t-shirt I was amazed at how many spectators were lining the streets.
It had been 10 years since I last ran the Chester Half Marathon and in that time everything about the race has improved. The organisers has done a fantastic job and the route is better than ever before.
The volunteers were superb and they deserve a special mention as without them many running events would not happen and many of us would not be able to enjoy running as much as we do.
Thank you everyone