Chester was going to be my second half marathon of the year, and I was quietly confident that I could improve on my PB which I set back in January.

After most of my training had been put into the Triathlon that I completed only 3 weeks before, I didn’t have much time to prepare. I managed to get a good solid week of runs in, so I felt confident I could have a good chance at beating my PB (which was 1:35:12).

For this race, I was going to be joined by the better half, and professional spectator. We decided to go down the day before and take in some of the sights Chester had to offer.

We had a lovely day just walking around Chester. Thankfully the city was pretty flat, which bode well for Sunday, as I had had enough of hills after the monster I had to climb in my previous race. On Saturday night we went for a nice meal so I could stock up on carbs, but not before Hannah made good use of the free bar back at the hotel. I was keeping it sensible and smashed back a couple of J20s.

Race Day

The morning of the race had arrived, and after making use of the free breakfast, we wandered over to Chester Racecourse, which is where the race was going to start.

With over 4000 participates, the racecourse quickly filled up. We had a look round the shops before a quick toilet stop to make sure I was race-ready. The half-marathon was going to start on the racecourse, before heading out into Chester city centre. I lined up near the sub 1:30 podium with no real intention of going that fast. I was aiming to finish around 1:32 but wanted to start off fast and just see how I felt.

Race Start

The town cryer was there to set us on our way. It was very bunched up as we left the racecourse, and as the roads were quite narrow it took a few mins for the pace to get going. When it did, I could finally take in the atmosphere. There were many spectators lining the streets cheering us on as we left the city centre for the more rural part of the race.


The first 5k was pretty quick, which was the plan, but I was unsure if I would be able to keep this going. I felt really good, but keeping this pace up for the entire race would be unknown territory for me.

10k – 42.06

My next 5k was only 9 seconds slower than my first, and my legs felt really good. I found myself slowly working through the pack, but with surprisingly plenty left in the tank, I decided to up the pace to around 4:05 / km which I knew would easily get me in under the 1:32, and even possibly under 1:30.

15k – 1:02:09

I had picked the pace up and the time was showing it. I ran the next 5k in 20:03, which was not far off my 5k PB. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to keep this pace up, but I was going to give it a go. With only 6k left, unless something major happened I knew I was going beat my target. I knew running another 20 min 5k could get me in around 1:28. The support was still amazing, even though the majority of the course was around the rural parts of Chester.

20k – 1:22:16

I had managed to hang on in there, but I was really feeling it now. Another 20:06 5k had put me in a great position, and I knew I was on for a massive PB. I was struggling now though, legs were tight, and breathing was more rapid. The mental side was coming into play as well, I knew I was so close I just had to keep going. I didn’t want to slow down as I knew I was on for a great time.

Finish – 1:27:04 – 131st Overall – 61st Age Group

The finish line was in sight, and what a sight it was. I found myself on my own running down the final straight. With so many spectators cheering you on it was a great feeling. I tried to spot Hannah, but with so many faces, and the fact I had run way faster than expected, everything was a bit of a blur. I crossed the line in 1:27:04, a whole 8 mins faster than I did back in January. I was over the moon even if I didn’t look it.

I soon found Hannah who refused to give me a hug, due to the disgusting state in which I was in (don’t blame her). I picked up my medal and we made our way back to the hotel for a well-earned shower.

I couldn’t be happier with my time. I was only really expecting to come in just over 1:30 at best. So I was amazed to beat that by another 3 mins.