In short: Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve this race !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In full: I was just happy to be there after 12 months of injuries and illness. Just a few weeks ago I was looking at not being able to run , so lining up at the start in the sunshine was fantastic. Unlike the vast majority or "normal" people , but very like the majority of runners , I really enjoyed the slog up Pen Y Pass , but not as much as running all the way down into Beddgeler! To be fair , that's probably what caused the wheels to spectacularly come off at 20 miles but anyway it was a pleasure to descend at speed and snatch quick glimpses of the beautiful surroundings. The long drag out of Beddgelert took it's toll today as did all the inclines which is odd as the weather was about as good as it can get for running a marathon and last year , it was about as bad as it can get but I ran a better , stronger race !? Anyway , after being shot by the cramp sniper a couple of times in various muscles I managed to give it big legs on the finishing straight along the main street in Llanberis which was lined with very loud and encouraging supporters! I will be back again next year and recommend this race to be tried at least once by anyone who fancies a crack at a marathon. I'm learning very slowly that endurance is about patience , not about pushing hard from the start line and this course is a harsh teacher !!! Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: Best Organised UK Marathon In full: Chris and Andy (organisers) know what marathon runners want and deliver it. More importantly they listen and there were improvements on last years fantastic race ! The racecourse is a superb venue for the start and finish. You actually run through the beautiful city of Chester ( pay attention "Manchester" marathon which doesn't go near the actual city it puports to be running in and "Edinburgh" which starts on the edge of the city runs away and never returns !!) Then it's off into the countryside with a few minor undulations. For those who think there are hills in this race I recommend you look at the Snowdon marathon and put things in perspctive.... The drinks stations are fantastic. Volunteers are enthusiastic and having your name on your number makes such an enormous difference. The Shotz gels at 15 and 20 miles were a brilliant idea and I hope they return next year. The finish was the best set up I have ever ran through for any race of any distance. I finished in 3.47 so in amongst the bulk of runners but with a nice wide finish and a well planned set up after the line everything was smooth which was especially important as I had suffered severe cramp during the final stages and was on the verge of collapse. Medal round the neck , kind offers of assistance ( turned down because I'm nails ),goody bag and t shirt and only a very short limp to the repatriation area so I could collapse with my friends and family. Really good goody bag as well !! A 10 minute massage off a girl that looked and sounded like "The girl With A Dragon Tattoo" was well worth £5 !!! I didn't get a PB this year but this is simply the best race in the calender and I will be back next year , and the year after , and the year after. I don't know of any other marathon that is one of the cheapest around and you get free mointhly training runs with a very warm welcome and perfect race day experience. Thank you to the organising team and volunteers. What a day !! PS. I don't know how but Chris and Andy have managed to book perfect weather for race day two years in a row. Lashed it down before and after last year but was perfect on race day and this years couldn't have been better. How do they do it !!?? Date of review: October 8, 2012
In short: This will become a regular in my running diary !! Brilliantly organised , cracking course !! In full: Chris , Andy and team , you've done it again !! The marathon was brilliant last year , and you've succeeded in making another good race great. Really enjoyed the course , really liked the finish. Pain is my friend so I loved the last hill to the finishing straight ! All those who moaned about it should have a crack at the last hill in the Snowdon marathon ! Now THAT'S a hill !! Nice attention to detail after the finish ,wide funnels with the goodies spread out in order to keep the runners moving away from the finish line. Great idea. I didn't think the baggage collection was too far from the finish , I thought the walk was a nice warm down and the massage at the end helped loads. I will definitely run this again next year , and the year after , and the one after that... Date of review: May 15, 2012
In short: If you only run one marathon , make it the Chester marathon !!! In full: Chris , Andy and team have organised a fantastic experience as well as a fantastic marathon !! As well as race day being practically perfect from start to finish , you are given the opportunity to take part in group runs every month which obviously means you get to compare notes with fellow runners of all abilities and experiences. You also get inputs from physio's , nutritionists , sports scientists , and top runners ( Andi Jones , 5 x Snowdon marathon winner ) and all this for free ! ( Well no more than the entry fee anyway.) I don't know any other marathon organisers who go to such lengths to help the average and elite runner! Race day itself was brilliant. The start was flawless , the route was beautiful. Running round all the main landmarks in the city centre and starting and finishing at the famous Chester racecourse was superb. Not like some "city" based marathons that start on the edge of the city and never come back ! ( Edinburgh!!! ) Having names on numbers is a great idea and really helped especially in the second half as the wheels slowly start to come off. Drinks stations were perfect , mile markers were accurate and visible. Supporters and volunteers were brilliant. They make such a difference when they sound like they are enjoying the day too. The finish turned out to be spot on. I went down the day before to have a bit of a recce and was initially concerned at running on grass and a couple of sharp turns on the race course itself. It was also throwing it down and blowing a gale so I wondered if the last few hundred meters would become a cross country run , but , true to their word , Andy and Chris had indeed booked the weather and at 0500 hours Sunday morning til nearly teatime the rain stayed away and the wind dropped. It was great to finish in front of a grandstand full of enthusiatic supporters. Had a brief queue after the finish which I didn't know if it was for goody bags or just official photo's. Turned out is was for photo's which I wasn't bothered about but the volunteers realised it was causing a queue and quickly opened up a path straight through for those who just wanted a goody bag and to be reunited with family and friends. Great medal , really good running top and goody bag. I would not change a thing about this race and would encourage all from beginer to elite to sign up for 2012. There are some small hills notably around 16.5 miles and about 24 miles but if you have trained well I don't think these are of concern. I have run a few other marathons but apart from the London , Chester is the only marathon I definitely want to do again. Edinburgh marathon organisers should see how Chester operates , especially around the finish. Perhaps they can learn not to cut corners and costs quite so much ! Well done Andy and Chris ! See you in 2012 ! Thanks. Date of review: October 10, 2011
In short: Great race coulde be even greaterer with a few changes !!! In full: Not so good points - Cups at water stations !!!!!! If this was a local 10k run then fair enough. For the standard of race and the cost of entry this is rubbish. Best way to get a stitch trying take onboard some fluid! And no sports drink ??!! This is the biggest single drawback to this race. Not very clear signing for the different time slots at the start. The mile markers need to be clearer on the course. Just one board on side of the road!If your in a group it's very easy to miss them and as this race is sold as being great for a PB , then milemarkers are very important. Doesn't have to be expensive , just balloons or something. The finish area for supporters is rubbish. Loads of choke points which need looking at. The field used for car parking over the road from the rugby club had no toilets.
Good Points - Loads and loads of friendly marshalls everywhere! Really good route , nice mix of flat and small hills (more undulations than hills ) Brilliant goody bag - best medal I've had. Nicely made and nice and weighty. Felt substantial. Definitely the best t shirt I've had. A navy tech t shirt with some detail about the race on the left breast. Means I can wear it to the gym , for a run , or even to the pub without looking like a "look at me I've done a race" idiot. Finish was very smooth for the runners. I've done a few races which employ TDL who do the timimg. Superb service. Got a text with my gun and chip times and positions within a few minutes of finishing which I really liked. especially as it was a PB !! Overall a race to take part in at some point in your running "career" , but they really have to change the cups for bottles and have a sports drinks station at around the 7 mile mark. Date of review: March 28, 2011