Britain′s most beautiful marathon returns

16.02.2011

Former Olympic athlete and world record holder Steve Cram MBE today unveiled plans to repeat the hugely successful Kielder Marathon.

Scheduled to take place on Sunday October 9, the Salomon Kielder Marathon will once again follow an almost entirely off-road course around northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, Kielder Water, in Northumberland.

Billed as ‘Britain’s most beautiful marathon’, the event was a sell out in its first year and returns this year with addition places on offer and a headline sponsor – Salomon, the athletic outdoor sports company.

The marathon will follow the Lakeside Way, a trail that stretches right around the shoreline of Kielder Water. The organisers have more than doubled the field this year and expect to attract runners and outdoor adventure enthusiasts from around the world to the dramatic setting and unique course.

Steve Cram, gold medal runner and sporting commentator, said: “Kielder Water & Forest Park was always my favourite place to run in the world and I dreamt of holding a marathon there. Last year we were delighted to launch the Kielder Marathon with Northumbrian Water and even more delighted at the crowds the event pulled in. This year we’ve secured a headline sponsor – Salomon. It’s great to have them on board to help grow the event.

“The atmosphere on the day last time was euphoric and I’m sure each of more than 900 runners who completed the course will join me in saying it was definitely the most memorable and scenic marathon course. I hadn’t planned to complete the whole marathon myself but once I set off, it was everything I hoped it would be…┬ábrilliant, hard and exhilarating. The views were spectacular and everyone had a fantastic time.”

With the water’s shoreline being 26 miles long, Kielder Water in North East England is the ideal venue for the ultimate running challenge, the marathon. Most of the course is off-road and it offers a test for trail runners, adventure racers and marathon enthusiasts alike.

Janice Brown, who finished last in the 2010 event in a time of 6:58:53 added: “I, along with everyone else who took part, am thrilled the event is taking place again in 2011. We’re all desperate to attack those ‘steep inclines again’ and better our times. You never know, this time I might not be last!”

Brian Porter, another runner who completed the event and also organises the Feckleton half marathon said: “It was absolutely brilliant! I’m from Freckleton where we have the oldest half marathon in the UK and last year I did the Kielder Marathon – the youngest marathon in the UK at the time. Brilliant!”

Once again this year there will be a small elite field including Salomon’s international trail team comprising of Ricky Lightfoot, Rob Hope and Northumberland’s very own trail champion, Nick Swimburn. Last year’s winner was Zak Kihara from Kenya with a winning time of 2:29:06. The first female to cross the finish line was Great Britain’s own Lizzy Hawker with a winning time of 2:58:22.

The Lakeside Way is a £3m project in Kielder Water & Forest Park that forms the marathon course. It is a multi-user trail suitable for walkers, runners, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair and pushchair users. The trail offers visitors new views and the opportunity to interact with even more of the park’s abundant wildlife and take in its scenic landscape.

Marathon places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis – there is no ballot this year. Cost of entry is £35. Runners who deferred their place last year will be contacted separately. To book a place log on to the event website at www.kieldermarathon.com. For enquiries telephone 0845 155 0236 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm).

The Kielder Marathon team is delighted to announce this year’s sponsor as Salomon, the Mountain Sports Company. With years of experience developing mountain sports products, Salomon works alongside some of the world′s top trail running athletes to create the most technical range of trail running shoes, apparel and gear.

Richard Philip from Salomon said: “We are dedicated to the outdoors and creating technical and innovative products suited to the trail and outdoor consumer. The Salomon Kielder Marathon symbolises our brand personality perfectly as we are working hard to encourage runners to look to the trails as an interesting and fun alternative to pounding the pavements.”

Northumbrian Water is once again hosting the event which will be jointly organised by Extra Mile Events and Roberts and Partners. Dave Roberts, who heads up Roberts and Partners, was a co-founder of the Great North Run.

Pictures to follow from North News - should you not receive the images please request from philippa.clark@nwl.co.uk.

For more information contact Alistair Baker, communications and PR manager, Northumbrian Water, on 0191 301 6851, 07711 793493 or alistair.baker@nwl.co.uk or Philippa Clark, communications advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park) on 0191 301 5538, 07970 897 756 or philippa.clark@nwl.co.uk.

Notes to editor:

Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information go to www.visitkielder.com.

The Kielder Partnership is a public, voluntary and private sector collaboration working to develop Kielder Water & Forest Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun.

Partners are Calvert Trust Kielder, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Northumberland County Council, Northumbrian Water plus representation from community groups.

Salomon’s goal is to provide the best products for trail running and support our athletes as they push the limits of mountain sports. By running the Salomon Trail Series, it enables Salomon to interact with the trail running community and be part of the movement towards a greater participation within trail running.

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