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Chester Ultra

02-Mar-2019 Chester, UK (England)

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4 REVIEWS
Trail Race Race Terrain
80KM / 50Miles
1 Day - 400 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Advanced  

Entry From £79 GBP

From the Race Organiser of the 200 Mile, #RaceAcrossScotland Ultra Great Britain!

2019 Marks the return of this Amazing 50 Mile Ultra-Marathon, fusing together some of the very best trails in the region on a well marked route.

Runners take in the River Dee into the heart of Chester, the Old Dee Bridge, Chester Racecourse, the North Cheshire Way, Helsby Hill and the wonderful Sandstone Trail including Frodsham, Alvanley Cliff and Delamere Forest. This fantastic route is further complemented by 6 Checkpoints en route that support Ultra-runners during the 50 Miles, including Dunham Hill & Hapsford Village Hall located close to midway.

Wonderful support! Great Trails!  

There's also free of charge training runs covering the route section by section in the weeks leading upto Race day and access to the GB Ultras Community and GB Ultras Running Club (the UK's 1st Dedicated Ultrarunning Club).

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Event Organiser
Wayne Drinkwater

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Review Chester Ultra

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TeamB_O_B

04:08 30-03-18

Arriving late on the Friday the GBUltras team were just getting ready to settle for the night. This did not stop them registering me on the race, doing a kit check and taking my pre race photo. They even had time for a chat before I settled for the night in a friends can which they allowed to park in the HQ carpark.
I chose Hoka Challengers again as my race shoe as they are perfect for distance and a mixed course. Not so good in heavy mud, but I took the chance, and Tailwind as fuel with 2 packs of Shotbloks.

We set off at 6am, it was noticeably darker then last year and extremely muddy. The course is a great layout, flatt'ish', starting with lanes and a mix of hard standing and grassed canal paths, with a lump thrown in the middle as you climb through woodlands. The course has a few fields and lanes thrown in for good measure to link everything together. This year the conditions under foot were mainly muddy, the hard standing canal section gave is a chance to pick up some speed, but some points of the muddy course were bloody hard work, to the point of me saying that I never wanted to see any more mud again, I had wet feet from mile 6, my brand spanking Hokas were unrecognisable buy the end. But saying that, the weather was kind to us all day, we had a couple of light showers and it warned up nicely, a totally different to what we were expecting and totally different to last year.

Still, all in all a cracking day out despite the mud. If anything the mud just added the challenge. 52 miles of fun. I can't recommend the race enough. Wayne & the GBUltra team put on a brilliant event, fantastic checkpoints, well stocked and very friendly. A well marked course, with free hot drinks and free burger van at the end, it just adds to a brilliant day. Bolt on free race photographers after the race and you're onto a winner. A great start to the season.

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ianrunr

10:34 17-03-18

My training over winter has all been aimed at this event,I had opted not to run a spring Marathon this year and instead try my hand at my first 'big' ultra. I have run a few 50ks before but they are really only marathons with a few wrong turns right??

The training had been good,not perfect but non ever is.It was however certainly better than the weather had been in the weeks running up to the race!

Registration was in  Waverton village hall on the friday evening and after a quick kit check i had my number and obligatory mug shot.







Race morning came and it had rained hard all night long.The drive over to the start had me driving through flooded country lanes,Bearing this in mind and Charlie's Sharpes advice not 12 hours previous i parked up and took my Inov8 ro*****e out of the boot and put them on my feet,shoes designed for mud and trail running.

I lie,i kept my road shoes on as obviously i knew best!!!

After meeting with some clubmates that were also taking part and exchanging some nervous pre race chit chat it was time for the off!


The first five miles or so was good runnable country lanes down to the river Dee and i thought i had absolutely made the right shoe choice as as soon as we hit the river it would be good trails mixed with tow path just like in the middle of Chester. WRONG! here started the mud,while nothing to bad a trail shoe would definitely shored up my grip (although a guy in trail shoes in front of me nearly did a backflip just before cp1).

I only stopped at CP1 to get my number checked and trotted on my merry way.

Between that and CP2 we had a mix of muddy fields and decent track past Chester Racecourse and despite it starting to rain i felt relaxed and excited for the day ahead.

CP2 my wife surprised me,coming out to cheer me on and take some photos,i felt a little guilty i didnt stay to chat but i was in the zone.





The next section was along the Shropshire canal and some good paved towpath let me get back into a stride,a touch too quick than what i wanted to do but i was already a way behind my goal as i hadn't taken the mud into consideration. I decided rather than blow up that i would re adjust my goal and accept that i can't control the weather.

CP3 was probably one of the best i have seen,only rivalled by maybe the The Hebden ,the ladies couldn't be more helpful,refilling my water for me and making sure i ate (i usually rely heavily on gels but took a piece of malt loaf to be polite,it was lovely btw). My wife had managed to get over as well and made sure i was ok.i asked her to get me some socks ready for CP4 as my feet had started to become sore from 3 hours in the wet.



The start of the second half greeted us with the start of the courses climbs,nothing too steep or technical but enough to make the route interesting,i really enjoyed this section and the the descent from Helsby hill was great fun !

Meeting my wife at CP4 for the final time before the finish i decided not to change socks as i knew i had a couple of blisters and i didnt want to cause more damage by removing socks and possibly popping them. So a quick top up of gels from Deb and half a can of red bull i was ready to go,it was at this point that she told me that i was maybe in 10th or 11th!

Off i rocketed to catch the gent who had just passed me at the CP,missed the turn for getting back on the trail and had to be chased down by a support marshal!

I wouldn't mind but i recced this section Sat afternoon!!



The next section saw us join the Sandstone trail up to Delamere forest and it also marked the furthest i had ever ran in a single event.(i only went to 31 miles in training due to recovery time).

At the Delemere CP i met a runner i know from a local club and we decided to run together home after finding out that we were indeed in 6/7th position respectively.

(I had felt really good through Delemere and as it was really well kept trail managed to get some decent running on and had overtaken a few runners) .

 

The next 10 miles became a bit of a blur as we chewed the fat and put the world to rights one boggy field morphed into another and a couple of electric fences kept us on our toes!









The final CP marked around 8 miles to go and we could just see a runner closing us down.The kind folks at the CP informed us not to hang around and i repaid them by covering them in my last sachet of tailwind! Only i try pouring tailwind INTO a tailwind! once again sorry guys!!

The final stretch was on a canal and i was secretly looking forward to it,you see i like canal running,they are flat well paved and you can get some decent running done on them.

The shropshire canal had missed the bloody memo!

Our section of canal was grass and mud,and at that my secret weapon had been neutralised, i was reduced to nothing more than a jog for fear of slipping into the canal never to be seen again.

I was hurting now and with only a few miles left a top ten finish was guaranteed i just had to keep pushing forward. Looking over my shoulder i spotted the runner from the last CP and he was gaining.....Fast.

Just like every good horror film,every time i looked round he had gained that little bit more and i knew it was now only a matter a time before he came sailing past!

Jumping off the canal with 400m to go I was moving at what felt like a full sprint, the finish in site we crossed the line in Rob 6th, me 7th (results have us joint 6th)with the mystery runner finishing not 30 seconds afterwards!
























All in all i loved this event and i think on a dry day there is a potential for some real good running,I may have to go back next year and test my theory!

Wayne and the whole team at GB ultras did a fantastic job from sign up to finish,The course was marked brilliantly,probably the best i've seen and Wayne really could not do anymore for the runners at the event.



My Gear- Montane minimus jacket,New Balance Tee,Skins shorts,smartwool socks and Adidas supernova GTX.

Pack- Ultimate direction PB vest

Nutrition- Tailwind nutrition and sis gels

Watch- My trusty Fenix 3 with Garmin etrex as nav backup

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Cookie Monster

08:18 13-03-18

The Chester Ultra ‘50’ was my first ultra distance race. The organisation was first rate. The registration on Friday night was smooth as anything. I got the course marked out on my map and got the latest update on the course conditions. Prepare for mud! I like the area around Chester and the route didn’t disappoint. We started out on tarmac for a stretch before coming on to a muddy farm track and mud fest began. There are cheerful and supportive marshals pointing the way. There are six check points, all of which are manned by the loveliest people you could wish to meet. You arrive at the CP and. someone immediately asks if you want the water bottles topped up. I was tucking into all the goodies - sweets, biscuits, malt loaf, fruit, sandwiches and swigging water and coke as if it was going out of fashion - while the water bottles were refilled. The CP crew also offered moral support, hugs and generally being amazing. I alluded to the muddy conditions earlier on the review and yes the conditions underfoot were very testing. However, the atmosphere was amazing. We all suffer peaks and troughs over the 50 miles but the support from the volunteers and your fellow runners will pull you through. To sum up, the organisation was excellent, the support from volunteers and fellow runners equally excellent and the route has a little of everything to keep your interest. Also the organiser has organised an official photographer (Mick Hall in 2018) and ajll photos taken during the event are free to download - professional quality photos. There was also a burger and cakes wait My at the race HQ. It does not matter if you are contemplating your first ultra or have done many ultras before, this is definitely an ultra that should be on your (very) short list. I loved it and came away with a big smile on my face. Would I recommend this race? Oh yes without hesitation. Would I do this race again? That’s a definite yes. The entries for 2019 opens in the not too distant future. Give Chester Ultra a go and I am certain you will not regret it. I loved it and I think you will too.

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Milertron

11:12 27-03-17

The course was absolutely stunning and certainly exceeded my expectations. I had no idea Cheshire was so hilly. Whilst the hills were hard, they also brought a new challenge, tremendous views, great descents and an eventual drop to the canal and the 6 miles to the finish. GB Ultra's organisation was wonderful. Signposting the course was great, which can't be easy over such a vast course. The support from the aid stations was humbling (all that cake - sorry I felt too sick by mile 30 to eat it!). I definitely recommend it to all. The pain in my quads today (Monday) tells of a challenging yet very run-able course. The perfect goal to keep you motivated through the winter. Oh and the weather was incredible ... lucky as you like! Thank you very much GB Ultra!!! Dave McHale

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