Course record smashed as thousands compete in Chester Half Marathon
- Sell-out event attracted 7,000 entries and 600 fun runners
- Kenyan Vincent Boit sets new course record of 1:02:21 with fastest UK half marathon time of the year
- Marriage proposal on finish line delights Chester city centre crowd
A new course record and a marriage proposal were among the highlights on Sunday as thousands of runners took part in the 34th annual Chester Half Marathon.
The main event attracted a sell-out 7,000 entries from runners of all ages and abilities, with many raising money for worthwhile causes while others hoped to secure personal best times on a course renowned for its speed and fantastic local support.
A one mile Fun Run around Chester Racecourse also took place for children and toddlers involving more than 600 people to raise money for the race’s charity partner, the Countess of Chester Hospital’s Babygrow Appeal. Unprecedented demand for the Fun Run saw tickets sell out in just 90 minutes, much to the amazement of organisers who had already increased the number of places available by 20% this year.
This year’s Chester Half Marathon winner was Vincent Boit from Kenya, who completed the 13.1 mile course in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 21 seconds, shaving two minutes and 25 seconds off the previous course record set 15 years ago. He was followed by last year’s race winner Mohammed Abu-Rezeq of Altrincham & District Athletic Club, who finished in 1 hour, 6 minutes and 38 seconds.
The fastest female runner was Teresiah Omosa, also from Kenya, who crossed the finishing line in 1 hour, 15 minutes and 37 seconds.
The race was particularly memorable for one runner, Rachel Mitchell from Kingsway in Chester, as she crossed the finish line to find her boyfriend Daniel Williams on one knee with an engagement ring. After completing the course in just over two hours, she accepted his proposal, much to the delight of thousands of spectators who had packed in to Chester city centre to see the race.
“It’s been a fantastic event, both in terms of the race itself and the amazing support the runners received from many thousands of supporters up and down the course,” said Chris Hulse, from Chester-based race organisers Active Leisure Events.
“The weather made for ideal running conditions and that was reflected in many of the finishing times, most notably Vincent who we must congratulate on beating a long-standing course record with the fastest half marathon time in the UK this year.
“The Chester Half Marathon puts this city on display to people from all over the country and there was a wonderful atmosphere all over the route and across the city centre.
“We’re always pleased when everything goes as well as it did today. We put a lot of hard work in to organising this event with the support of our partners, sponsors and volunteers, so we owe them a huge thank you for helping us to make it a success.
“The number of participants this year shows how popular the race has become – we hope every runner had a great time and we hope to see them back for more next year or making the step up to the MBNA Chester Marathon or MBNA Metric Marathon this October!”
Organisers believe that more than £750,000 will have been raised by fundraisers taking part in the event for various local and national charities. More details are expected later this year.
Early bird entries for the 2016 Chester Half Marathon will open on Monday 18th May.
To enter or for further information, visit www.chesterhalfmarathon.co.uk
Race results – 2015 Chester Half Marathon
1 Vincent Boit 1:02:21
2 Mohammed Abu-Rezeq 1:06:38
3 Ben Fish 1:07:39
1 Teresiah Omosa 1:15:37
2 Hannah Oldroyd 1:20:23
3 Rachel Cave 1:20:21