Essar Chester Half Marathon - Sunday 19th May 2024

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19 May 2024 09:00

Essar Chester Half Marathon - Sunday 19th May 2024

Enter now
  • innospec

Chester has the best pacer crew on the planet!

Chester’s Pace Crew are all heroes without capes (though if given half the chance there are at least a couple of them who would relish the idea of capes being part of the pacer crew race gear).

Our philosophy has always been getting people running and enjoying a fitter and healthier lifestyle. We pride ourselves on providing excellent race events across the distance for everybody – including the elite, club runners, charity runners, improving runners, and new runners.

Therefore, our pacer crew are carefully selected not only for their running prowess, fitness, and race knowledge, but also for their ability to support, engage, offer encouragement, and motivate runners.

We are intrinsically proud and congratulate the post-race jubilant cries of a race PB but are also just as delighted to receive the personal thanks and anecdotes from runners about how the pacers added to an incredible race day experience for them.

What is a pacer?

Generally, a pacer is an experienced runner (and all-around great person) who runs at a set speed for the duration of the race event as a guide for competitors. Pacers are used typically in a long-distance race; we field a team of pacers at the Half Marathon & Marathon distances. A pacer can be extremely useful when running at a race event.

Pacers give you a clear marker for different paces or times to complete the race, so ultimately, they help you to finish at your desired time.

In other words, they track the time and pace, so don’t have to think too much about that and you can concentrate on your running. In fact, the only thing you need to think about is keeping up with your pacer.

Here is how our Pace Crew will support you on race day.

1. Our Pacers will prevent you from starting the race too fast.

Each pacer will run to a steady, rhythmic pace based on an overall pace time to finish the race. You simply run alongside the pacer holding a sign with your desired race time.

There is a tendency for runners to set off too quickly, it is a common scenario that leads to you using more energy within the first part of the race. Using a pacer will help you to have more energy for the duration of the race. It’s important to have some gas left in the tank to ‘finish strong’ and not have to rely on pure mental toughness to cross the finish line.

Our pacers will make sure you start the race on the right track for a successful run.

2. The pacers know the course and where to run

Think of your pacer as a ‘tour guide’ as they will know the course and how to best complete it. They are also used to dealing with crowds of runners, congestion, and most importantly know when you’ll be close to a drink and gel station.

It may sound trivial yet missing a drinks station could compromise your race.  Also spending a significant amount of time running around and weaving through people is a bad use of energy.

Running in a pace group also creates that team feel which could mean your motivation to succeed could be high just when you need it.

3. Pacers run even splits.

Running distances can be quite strategic, including lots of choices as to whether you should alter the pace for certain parts of the race such as when encountering hills.  This can be tricky to achieve, especially for new, novice, or even intermediate-distance runners.

Our pacers run even splits though it should be borne in mind that they may tweak the pace marginally to “put some time in the bank” to help you tackle a hill up ahead. Even splits mean they run both halves of the race at the same pace. This helps keep a rhythm and a steady pace.   

4. They are super encouraging and motivating.

All of our pacer crew are very experienced athletes, and they want to help you achieve your running goals. They have been in your position before and understand what you are going through. They understand the nerves, worries, and probably what is motivating you to run as well.

They are on hand to answer any of your questions or give advice whilst keeping the pace on track for all the runners working to the desired finish time.

5. They are superheroes and can help achieve PBs

For beginners, pacers can help you set a great first-race finish and a PB to set the tone for future events. The most crucial element is to be realistic when choosing your pace time because pacers aren’t miracle workers.

If you already have a PB you can run with a pace time that is marginally quicker than your PB. Alternatively, you could set your race pace based on your current PB and work to keep in front of that pacer, or even between two pacer groups.

A pacer is a solid support structure. We supply them at our races to support you in achieving more. They are a talented team who will ease the stress of checking watches/pace/time and they’ll give you the reassurance that you are running a good race. 

Look out for our Pacers at the race start.

Just before the race starts you will find the Pace Runners in the pens for specific start times.  They are easy to find as they will be holding ‘pace time’ paddles in the air.   The pens are in sequence from elite to fast to the middle and back end of the field.

It is important to establish a realistic race target race pace during your training and prior to race day then stick to it.

If you run with a pacer, you’ll reap the benefits.

You can find out more about Pace Crew on our website including brief info on each pacer and the time slot they’ll be pacing. We even have a ‘mug shot’ of each of them to help you connect with them and put a face to the name (and time) before race day.


Race Record


Vincent Boit in 2015


Amanda Crook in 2013

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2023 Results.

1st Andrew Hayes (Hallamshire Harriers) 1:05:52
2nd Scott Overall (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers) 1:06:28
3rd Ed Shepherd (Woodford Green AC) 1:06:59
1st Tracy Barlow (Thames Valley Harriers) 1:15:19
2nd Abigail Howarth (Vale Royal AC) 1:19:40
3rd Kelly Edwards (Leamington Cycling & AC) 1:20:05
See all results