In short: Amazing and well organised race with a great atmosphere! In full: I've never written a review but I have to say I loved Chester Marathon! I've only done city marathons before so running in the countryside was amazing. First half seemed to have more gentle downhill and two bigger hills came in the second half. When you are running a marathon they feel like mountains. But if you pace yourself right the hills are manageable and pb is definitely very possible. There isn't support at every corner (because you are in the countryside) but often enough you'd pass through groups of people who would cheer you so loudly that it would make up for the quiet time. Excellent atmosphere, organisation, and this years' weather was also perfect. After reading other peoples' reviews I might have to also add that the merging of metric runners with marathon runners did annoy me a little bit. When you are at the latter stages of a marathon it's extremely hard to manouver around people and ask them to move. Occasionally the metric marathon runners would be in a line of 5 chatting to each other and there was no room to pass. Perhaps later start for the metric marathon could solve this like someone suggested? Anyhow I was very pleased with it all, and I would highly recommend this race! Also, if you plan on staying in Chester the night before, book well in advance. I left it too late with very little choice (and very expensive options) left. Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: This race does Chester proud... In full: I was fortunate enoughto have an elite plsce in this marathon, and I couldn't speak higher of the treatment or hospitality we were given....the marshals on course were fantastic, I gave up counting the road blocks that were in place (too tired)...big thumbs up to this one - wouldn't say its a 100% pb course, but its a quicky.....well done and thank you to the MBNA Chester Team! Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Great Race: can't fault the organisation, friendly marshals, scenery. Yes it is undulating almost from the start for approx 7 miles, but what goes up must go down! All in all a well organised event, thank you! Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Really enjoyed my first marathon In full: This was my first marathon and I found it very well organised. Being at the racecourse was a plus as there was ample parking right next to the start/finish, while being a matter of minutes from the centre of town. There were plenty of water/isotonic stations, plus gells at some. The final section was alongside the River Dee, where I had to walk due to my calf muscles cramping, but the crowd was encouraging and I managed to run the last 300 metres back on the racecourse. Delivery of medals, t-shirts and goodie bags was efficient and compact, meaning my wife found me easily afterwards. I managed to have a shower without queuing. My only recommendation for an improvement is to have fruit at the finish (bananas and maybe apples). Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: almost perfect! In full: there is so much good about this race it's absolutely right to highlight all that before the one niggle I have. the organisation was spot on, everything flawless. plenty of toilets, excellent marshals on the course, support through all the villages, some tests and the brilliant race angels (thankyou Emma!).
a goody bag that's actually useful, an excellent training top and a nice medal. there's so much to like here. add to the fact that it's based in Chester which is a brilliant place I'm loathed to criticise at all. but I must.
the metric marathoners started one hour behind the marathon folks which for me (running 3:50) meant that we were merging with those metric runners who were running at 2:50 pace for their 16.5 miles. that's significantly slower than the marathoners they were meeting. this caused congestion and made it a lot hard to maintain pace/direction. not what you need in the later stages of the race.
It seems to me that the metric should start about two hours after the main race to ensure that the runners merge at about the same pace.
oh - AND WALK ON THE LEFT. please. all of you! Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Chester is so well organised - they even book the weather in advance. Fantastic Event! In full: A special event for me anyway but yesterday was extra special as it was my 100th Marathon. Chris; Andy; Elaine; Linda and the rest of the Chester Marathon team ensured that I had a day to remember.
Pacing the 5.00 bus I also met lots of interesting characters and 1st time marathoners whose performances were truly inspirational.
In short: A great Marathon In full: An excellent marathon. The course is a mixture of roads and lanes, which winds it's way through numerous small villages. Although it's rural, the locals are out in relative force and supported brilliantly. The organisation was second to none, the location of the start finish was perfect and the announcer/organisers very enthusiastic. The pacers were bang on and the goody bag generous, definitely a 'do-again'. Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Great atmosphere, great support, well organised, only one drawback In full: A great race to be a part of, really good support and well organised. Great commentary too. One large, one small niggle. The merging of the two races meant a sudden influx of very slow runners or even walkers (from the Metric Marathon) spread out across the road, making it hard to overtake or run in a straight line at one's own pace. I'm sure this could have been organised better. Plus the parking. I know it's difficult, but despite the message asking people to bring the right change, the driver of the car next to us got out to get his wallet out of the boot, and the attendant in our queue had to go and get change from the next queue. this despite the clock ticking and the threat of the gates closing. I can't believe everyone got in in time. Otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable race and hats off to the organisers. Way above par. Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Excellent and very good value for money In full: This race was very good value for money. As an affiliated runner, I only paid £6 to enter and received a technical t-shirt and a weighty medal. However, it was heavily subsidised by a local developer building a new town on the edge of Aldershot, so query if it will be as cheap in future years.
The course was pretty flat with a couple of very gentle slopes, partly canal-side and partly road. I didn't find the canal too congested and actually it was quite good not to go off too fast, but as another reviewer has said, it might be worth running the event in reverse in future. It was also about 0.05 miles over distance, which was the difference between going sub-50 minutes and not doing so for me. But it could be a PB course and I hope they affiliate to UK Athletics next year as it would be a shame to run a PB for it not to appear on Power of 10 if you are concerned about such things. Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Best organised race I've done In full: The organisation of the whole event is impeccable. Support around the course is good and the marshals and aid stations are great. I'd highly recommend this marathon to first timers. Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: excellent bridge between hal and full marathon, great event In full: excellent organisation and inclusion of club corner is an innovation that other races should adopt Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Well organised but pricey In full: £37 for a club runner is a lot for what is essentially a half marathon. The organisation is great - you cannot fault that - and the support along the route an especially in the last couple of miles was superb. I'd give the race a glowing review were it not for the cost. Plus it was marketed as "you aren't quite good enough to run a full marathon so try this" which isn't great (or correct in my case) Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Brilliant in every way In full: This is a great marathon, for marathon beginners and veterans alike. The course is straightforward without being boring, starting out from the Racecourse where there's a great atmosphere, through the City and then off into the Borders.
The organisation is faultless, marshals everywhere where you'd want them, plenty of drink stations and also plenty of portaloos around the course if required.
I'm not sure what the course commentator was on though. Some of the most bizarre announcements and comments I've ever heard in public! But even that added to the day, in its own way! Date of review: October 5, 2015
In short: Incredible Vaule for Money In full: What I really like about these off-road events is the incredible value for money. Included in your £14 fee is croissant before starting, snack at 7 miles, bacon or sausage sandwich at 9.5, and gorgeous cake at 13. (I did the short course). +tea/coffee/soft drinks each time. Plus a meal to finish. All around a beautiful part of the heart of England. Date of review: October 5, 2015