So close to a PB at the Chester Half Marathon

Mizuno Wave Inspire

Now that the dust has settled on another Half Marathon I still feel an enormous sense of pride, legs are still aching though, by missing out on a PB by 6 minutes. Now some people may find this strange but this needs to be taken into consideration of the course type.

This race, as picturesque as it is, is not flat and as many of the runners will tell you the final push up to the finish line just after the 12 mile marker is gruelling. In fact I can only remember a tougher finish in the Macclesfield Half Marathon.

Therefore it is difficult to compare this course to that of Blackpool Coastal Half Marathon.

So I can only compare this race to 3 years ago to when I ran 2:27, so knocking off 24 minutes isn’t bad at all.

But everything appeared to come together in this race for me and that included the weather which was warm, cool breeze and drizzle. The perfect running conditions!

Always Read the pre-race notes!

You may find this strange and most of you will have read through the note but as I thought I had rant his race before and only live close to the start then I thought I didn’t need too, wrong!!

The first mistake was getting there, as I know the back roads through to the start line and knew the route I thought I could beat traffic and get to the start in plenty of time, but the route I was taking was closed – why?!?

Mistake 2 – The route had slightly changed from when I ran it 3 years ago meaning the route I was taking to get to the start was blocked but I only found this out when the actual race had started.

The race itself

When the race started it is always slow due to the volume of runners all trying to get into their own stride which isn’t too bad considering the immediate incline that was ahead of the runners.

The unexpected route was turning right at the top which made the route more atmospheric whilst running through the city centre and it also provided a decline around Garden Lane area which always help with time and fitness.

Once you get out to the Blacon/Mollington roundabout it is straight, on one road, for a good 5/6 miles. There are occasional inclines and declines but my training covered this and I was truly in my stride and just enjoying the scenery and support along the sides – saw an old work colleague!

The turn, although a welcome relief that you know you are on your way back home was a little demotivating for me, as I knew I was doing a good time and felt comfortable but the 2hr pacers were already on the way back before I had turned.

The run down the country lanes were tight but this is when the welcomed drizzle started to come down which cooled me down.

Through Saughall and back on the main road and I was feeling fine, my Runkeeper kept stating my pace had stayed the same 5:45 per/km. I think that this type of motivation kept my spirits and motivation high and my 5 months of training was paying off!

That was until the final half mile, all of which is up hill. I think everyone here struggles regardless of fitness but the turn at the top into the home straight and the relief you feel in your legs is enough to push on home.


As I have previously mentioned I had all the right equipment on but there were a couple of extras which helped.

Firstly I didn’t wear a watch, did this take away psychological stress of running for a PB?!?! Unsure but my run keeper clock appeared to have a different effect on how I was running.

In the past I have taken Energy Gels but they have usually ended in giving me stomach cramp but after I blew up at the Liverpool Half at Mile 10 I thought I would read more into this and I changed the timings in which I took a gel.

I only took 1 and it was around the 6 mile marker with water, slight cramp but I didn’t blow up as per Liverpool. This is hard to say whether it was the training or the additional energy boost, I previously didn’t have. I will have to experiment on this again in a future race.


Superb, a largely rural route but certainly plenty of support out through the streets and lanes all shouting out your name to support and to bring you home. I got a burst from volunteers from Ellesmere Port Running Club giving me a shout!

The cheers in the centre are what brings you home!


First class as always, the start, finish, water points, wouldn’t expect anything else from the organisers who always do a first class job.

A big shout out to the volunteers who without them, there wouldn’t be a race!

The goody bag was also good, who doesn’t like Haribo after 13.1 miles!!

Annoying bits

I am a grumpy old man now so there are bits that do wind me up.

Firstly spectators standing in the way of the entrances to the pens at the start. Move out of the way, you’re not running the race and you can see your friend/partner at the fence section, don’t block up the runners!!

Secondly, I liked running through the City centre and there were signs up for weeks about the race, so don’t try and cross the street with all of the runners coming and then start complaining when you struggle to get across.

But overall the race for me was a success and it really does spur me on for my future races and in particular the 10k races I have coming up – PB’s?!?!

Chester Half Next Year? We shall see but why not! But well done to everyone who took part!!