Lovers of athletics in the region are in mourning following the death of a competitor in today’s Chester Metric Marathon.

Thousands of people had gathered for the annual Chester Marathon 2017, organised alongside the Metric Marathon and Mini Marathon.

It has emerged that one of the Metric Marathon runners has died.

In a joint statement Chris Hulse and Andy White, co-organisers from Active Leisure Events, said: “We speak for everyone involved with the Chester Metric Marathon when we say we’re all deeply saddened that following a medical incident during the event today one of our runners has passed away.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends.

“We would like to praise the marshals and the emergency services – in particular St John Ambulance, North West Ambulance Service and police – for their rapid response and care for the runner during the incident.”

In the races, highly experienced athletes had joined creatively-dressed fun runners before setting off at 9am, 10.15am and 10.30am yesterday from the Roodee racecourse before passing Chester’s iconic landmarks and then heading out into the Cheshire countryside.

The marathon runners were treated to 26.2 miles of English and Welsh countryside, entering Wales along the banks of the River Dee near the end of the race, while the Metric Marathon runners paced 26.2 kilometres through Chester’s city before heading out to Aldford where they joined the full marathon runners.

Lloyd Biddell, from Mercia Fell Runners, earned first prize with a time of 2:26:11, 80 seconds before runner-up Tom Aldred, of London Heathside, who came in with a time of 02:27:31 and Stuart Hawkes, of Tipton Harriers, at 02:28:10.

Sarah Lowery, from Sheffield Running Club, took the female title with a time of 02:44:24, more than four minutes quicker than runner-up Sarah Webster from Isle of Man Athletics Club (02:48:28) while Michelle Nolan-Hood from Gateshead Harriers and FC came in third place with 02:48:47.

The Metric Marathon was also a success for many and especially so for winner Chris Pownell from Knowsley Harriers (01:35:36) while Wrexham AC’s very own Darren Rowlands who came in second at 01:36:57.

Hannah Jarvis, from Dorking and Mole Valley AC, clinched the female metric winner’s title with 01:44:13 while amateur Es Burford crossed the finish line in 01:45:33.