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Running: Hundreds flock to Chester for annual Round the Walls Race on Boxing Day

FESTIVE scenes greeted runners at the annual Shell Round the Walls Race on Boxing Day – forcing organisers into a rethink.

With the city walls still covered in a layer of snow and treacherous ice, the traditional route was ruled unsafe.

It meant all the action had to be confined to the Roodee, which still managed to provide a testing challenge for the 345 finishers.

Race winner was John Gilbert, a former Cheshire county runner from Warrington who now turns out for Kent AC. He completed the four-mile course in 19 minutes and 26 seconds.

Former Deeside AAC member Charlie Hulson, an under 20 junior, finished second with a time of 19:55, from last year’s winner Daniel Cliffe (Warrington AC), third in 20:02.

Warrington AC’s Sarah Griffiths won the women’s race after clocking 25:31 for 52nd position overall, ahead of Wirral AC’s Lisa Grantham (68th in 26:28).

Chester-based international triathlete Oly Stanley posted 21:58 for 12th position.

Stephen Skates headed host club West Cheshire AC’s contingent to the finishing line after posting 16th position in 22:25, just one second and one position ahead of Helsby Running Club’s Adair Broughton.

Members of Chester Triathlon Club usually go for a Boxing Day swim in the River Dee after the walls race, but frozen waters put paid to their plans.

Duncan Harris led home Chester Tri’s 21-strong contingent in the big race, finishing 10th in 21:45.

The race was preceded by a fun run for younger athletes and their parents.

Liam Burthem, 13, was first to cross the line, beating 14-year-old Matthew Wriglesworth by one second. West Cheshire AC member Joseph Morrison, of Ellesmere Port, was third while Nicola Harris, 12, from Warrington, was the first female finisher.

For a full Shell Round the Walls Race results list, see www.westcheshireac.co.uk