More than 3,000 competitors descended upon Northumberland to compete across a series of events at the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon this weekend. Known for courses that have beautiful Kielder water as a backdrop, the weekend incorporates six separate competitions, and is organised by Events of the North in conjunction with Northumbrian Water, Active Northumberland, and Northumberland County Council.
The competition kicked off on Saturday when 750 runners competed in the Kielder 10K. Blyth Running Club’s David Beech took a commanding lead after the first hill and managed to hold onto top place with a winning time of 35:02, while Olympic runner Aly Dixon secured first in the female competition in 36:22.
runABC north contributor Sarah Briggs, competing for the second successive year said: “Fantastic day - knocked 5 mins off last year's time and could have gone faster - felt amazingly relaxed and really enjoyed the run. It really is a stunning race, and all the series for the weekend are deservedly popular - incredibly well-organised."
Meanwhile the Kielder Run-Bike-Run saw more than 161 individuals and 35 teams tackle the marathon distance split into three parts. Individuals or teams of three competed in an 11k run, a 26k bike ride and a 5k run.
On Sunday, around 1,300 runners competed in what is commonly referred to as ‘Britain’s most beautiful marathon and half marathon.’ The courses follow the Lakeside Way, a trail that stretches right around the shoreline of Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Water.
Allendale’s Cees Van der Land took the 2016 marathon title with a winning time of 2:48:51, comfortably ahead of second placed Andrew Hebden (2:58:27), with Matthew Cooke third (2:58:42).
Debbie Crozier, last year’s half marathon champion, showed her class across the longer distance with victory over 26.2 miles in a time of 3:19:25. The half, meanwhile, saw David Green secure top place in 1:51:10, while Zena Phillips led the female field home in 1:33:26.
Race director Steve Cram said: "The 2016 Kielder Marathon was the culmination of another fantastic weekend of races at the most picturesque sporting event in Britain. We have had some excellent races, with competitors from across the UK and around the world. Each year, the weekend improves and the work starts now on planning a bigger and better event for 2017."