Saturday’s (25 March) inaugural Chester Ultra made a lasting impression on all who took part with a classy debut for this new race, part of the GB Ultras series of endurance events. The new ultra enjoyed a picturesque 52-mile route that was a mixture of canals, trails and hills with warm, sunny weather as a bonus.
The race started at 6am on a cold and frosty morning from Waverton Village Hall with over 200 runners (including this correspondent) clapped and cheered on their way. There were six checkpoints, medical cover and Cheshire Search and Rescue to keep everyone on the move with enthusiastic support from marshals and volunteers.
Michael Jones won the first Chester Ultra in 7:30 followed by Jack Bromley in 7:32 with Lee Ireland coming third in 7:43. Sally Ford was first lady in 8:27 followed by Emma Morton-Collings in 8:46 with Jenn Gaskell coming third in 9:20.
There was a 14-hour time limit for the race with cut-offs at each of the checkpoints. However, race director Wayne Drinkwater and his team were determined to see everyone in and extended the 14-hour deadline to enable the last three runners to finish in a little over 17 hours.
Determination was in evidence by one of these runners who had twisted his ankle at 30 miles and hobbled the remaining 22 miles with the encouragement of his two companions. This was one of several examples of teamwork on the day.
The GB Ultras team provided support before as well as during the race that included recce runs of the course, a social evening and regular updates.
All finishers received a bespoke gold, silver or bronze medal depending upon their position and a technical T-shirt.