THOUSANDS of runners set a scorching pace on Sunday for the MBNA Chester Marathon, on a day which saw event records smashed.

Joint race organiser Chris Hulse said: “We are delighted to have had record entries for the marathon and the accompanying Metric and Mini Marathon were also total sell outs."

More than 5,000 runners, 20,000 spectators and some very inspirational local landmarks came together this weekend to help make the 2023 MBNA Chester Marathon a resounding success.

The marathon, consistently voted onto the podium by the readers of Runner’s World for being a top quality event, was started by Chester’s Town Crier waving off runners from the starting line at Chester Racecourse. The runners are expected to raise a combined total of more than £1.5m for local charities with £50,000 being raised for the main race charity Hope House Children’s Hospices.

Spectators dotted the route throughout Chester city centre and parts of North Wales in unseasonably warm conditions that benefitted the onlookers more than the competitors.

First place winner for the marathon was Marshall Smith of Ashford AC who finished the race in 2:21:32, with first lady Naomi Mitchell of Reading AC crossing the line in 2:41:21.

In the accompanying MBNA Chester Metric Marathon, Thomas Charles of Chorlton Runners completed the 26.2-kilometre route to take the win in 1:27:52 with first lady Lindsay Fisher of West Cheshire AC crossing the line in 1:42:34.

For many of the runners, the event had extra special significance as their participation would earn them the coveted Triple Medal for completing all three Active Leisure events during the year.

Joint race organiser Andy White said: “This year’s MBNA Chester Marathon has been better than ever before and I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping us make it such as success, from the runners and the spectators to the sponsors and the rest of the organising team.

“Chester can be proud to host what is regarded by many as the best marathon in the UK which again included the prestigious England and Welsh Age Group Championships.”

In addition to runners and spectators, more than 700 volunteers including many from race title sponsor MBNA were on hand to support this year’s runners at drinks stations and along the route at various points across the 26.2-mile course, as well as handing out medals, souvenir shirts and goody bags at the finish.


Andy added: “Our volunteers this year were also absolutely fantastic so a big thanks to all enthusiastic groups, individuals, MBNA and everyone else who gave their time and energy to help make the MBNA Chester Marathon such an overwhelming success."

Early analysis shows that the event is also expected to provide the local economy with a significant cash boost of nearly £2m spent on local accommodation, food, shopping and visitor attractions.

Those who feel they have been inspired to take part next year will not have to wait long as applications for the 2024 marathon are already open. To enter and for more information about the race, visit

See a gallery of photos above, taken by photographer Simon Warburton.