One dream. Four Jamaicans. Twenty below zero.


(One dream. Four lads from Hexham. Hoping for nice weather).

Four school pals from Tynedale are gearing up to run this year’s Salomon Kielder Marathon… dressed as the Jamaican bobsleigh team.

Inspired by the comedy film about the first Jamaican bobsleigh team trying to make it to the winter Olympics, Cool Runnings, Jamie Williams, Chris Hay and Thomas North (all 24) and Joe Speed (25) plan to don lycra outfits and even carry a bobsleigh the final few miles of the gruelling 26 mile marathon course around Kielder Water.

With little or no running experience between them the team has entered ‘Britain’s most beautiful marathon’ in very much the same way as the Jamaican team in the film enters the 1988 Winter
Olympics - as outsiders, with little to no preparation.

Jamie said: “We’re hoping the brakes aren’t on for us and that we don’t match the bobsled team from the movie and come in last place!

“Since I heard about the Kielder Marathon last year I really wanted to do it but decided only if I could think of a fun way. I got the idea, telephoned some pals and somehow persuaded them to join me!

“So far, the most challenging part has been sourcing the outfits. Although I doubt we will say that when we are several miles into the race! I’m raising money for the Great North Air Ambulance – the un-sung heroes of our local community. Also, I have in mind that I may possibly need their help myself; keeled over on the Kielder Marathon course!”

The group, all from Hexham, will be wearing lycra bobsleigh suits, ski goggles, helmets and even dreadlocks as they each emulate a character from the cult film.

Jamie added: “We plan to stay together the whole way round – we won’t leave one runner behind. In the last couple of miles we’re hoping to run in a line carrying a bobsleigh.”

The Salomon Kielder Marathon is just one of a series of events taking place in Kielder Water & Forest Park over Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October. Runners wanting to take part without tackling the entire marathon course can still enter the Kielder 10K or the Kielder Run Bike Run relay event as an individual or a team of three. Go to

Olympic athlete and event organiser, Steve Cram OBE, said: “It’s fantastic that this event has become so popular already in only its second year. This year we have added the Kielder 10K and are repeating the Run Bike Run relay event as well as the Junior Runs so there is something for the whole family. We wish the lads the best of luck – can’t wait to see them on the day.”

Jamie and his friends are hoping their efforts will raise funds for their chosen charities. Jamie is running for the Great North Air Ambulance. Joe and Chris have both chosen to run for the Emma Newton Fund, a grant-making fund to support young people in arts. The charity was set-up by parents of Emma who was tragically killed by a falling tree during storms in May 2011. Joe and Chris both know relatives of Emma and are keen to offer their support to the fund.

Thomas North’s efforts will go to Chrysalis at Tynedale, a club where active people with memory problems or dementia get one-to-one support and tuition to learn and do creative things, such as art, gardening and singing.

New for 2011 – The marathon route will incorporate the stunning Kielder Viaduct this year. Spectators can watch the runners crossing the Viaduct from a live feed at Kielder Castle Visitor Centre.

For more information on Kielder Water & Forest Park go to

For information contact Philippa Clark on 0191 301 5538 or

To enter the Kielder 10K, the Kielder Run-Bike-Run or the Kielder Junior Runs go to  or call 0845 155 0236 (between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday).

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

Programme of events

Saturday 8 October
1pm Kielder 10K race
1pm Kielder Run-Bike-Run relay event

Sunday 9 October
10:15am Salomon Kielder Marathon
11am Kielder Junior Runs
Times are subject to change.

Activities for spectators over Kielder Marathon weekend include:

Leaplish Waterside Park, 01434 251 000
- The Osprey ferry (subject to timetable, pre-booking required)
- The Boat Inn restaurant and bar
- Miniature golf and children’s play area
- Shop for souvenirs

Calvert Trust Kielder, 01434 250 232
- Climbing wall
- King Swing

Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre at Leaplish Waterside Park, 01434 250 400
- Open from 10:30am
- Flying demonstration (normally 1 or 2pm)
- Petting zoo

The Bike Place, Kielder Village, 01434 250 457
- The bike hire centre will be open from 09.30am on both days. Full range of bikes available, with 2hr/4hr or full day hire on offer.
- The Bike Place in Bellingham (1 King Street) will be open 09.30am till 5.30pm on the Saturday. Sales, service and bike hire available from there. As a cycle hub, Bellingham now has 5 circular routes established with free maps available.

Purple Mountain bike hire, opp Kielder Castle, 01434 250 532
- Bike hire is available 9:30am – 5pm.
- Free guided bike rides are available at 10am and 2pm on both Sat 8 and Sun 9 October but must be pre-booked.

Kielder Castle Visitor Centre
- Live footage of the marathon runners crossing over Kielder Viaduct
- The Duke’s Pantry

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

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