Marathon-men and women may have an extra spring in their step this weekend when organisers “release the hounds” at one of the region’s most challenging long-distance events.
Kielder Marathon competitors won’t be tracked by a pack of hounds, however, just urged to show a little pre and post-race love to the most remote mutt on the Great North Snowdog Trail.
Runners at the event, held on Sunday [October 2], can get up close and personal with “Patchwork Northumberland”, or “Patch”, the only Snowdog not on the Tyne and Wear trail.
Northumbrian Water’s Head of Leisure Strategy, David Hall, said: “Kielder Marathon is always a fantastic day and we’re delighted to have our dog kenneled close by for visitors and competitors to enjoy during their run. The marathon and the Great North Snowdogs initiatives are both great ways to support charities, enjoy the outdoors and celebrate all that is unique about our beautiful region.
“We think Patch is the most beautiful Snowdog of them all, but we’re concerned he might feel neglected, with most of the Snowdog enthusiasts visiting his town and city cousins along the Tyne and Wear trail.
“Kielder Marathon offers us a unique opportunity to showcase Patch to a wider audience and also make sure his gorgeous presence is felt across social media with runners and support teams taking time to #Paws4Selfies with our marathon mutt, this weekend.”
As an added incentive, anyone who downloads the Great North Snowdogs app and checks off both Northumbrian Water’s other Snowdog, “Essence of the North”, AND Patch, they will be eligible for a post-race celebratory free slice of cake with their cuppa at The Boat Inn, Kielder…and please remember to post a pic with both Snowdogs on Twitter using #Paws4Selfies.
Northumbrian Water is a major backers of the Great North Snowdogs. With Patch at Kielder and “Essie”, as she is known among the staff, perched proudly outside Newcastle’s Theatre Royal, these perfect pooches have two of the most stunning views the North East has to offer.
Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, said: “The Great North Snowdogs is a fantastic project. They are bringing a splash of colour to North East streets while encouraging people to get out and about and explore their environment... and also raising funds for an excellent charity.
“Our two artists have done amazing jobs and it’s fantastic to see the Snowdogs on display in these prime locations. I would encourage everyone to get out and “walk the dogs” - they are not here for a long time, so let’s make the most of them while we can.”
David Hall added: “We’re expecting a fantastic turn out to the marathon, and having Patch and, from a distance, Essie join in the activities makes for an even more special day for runners of all ages.
“The marathon’s route is around the beautiful Kielder Water, so there’s always some fantastic pictures for our competitors to keep as memories, and having the Great North Snowdogs on hand for some colourful selfies is a great addition to the day.”
Last year’s marathon was a sell-out event, and organisers expect this year to be much the same, with the race kicking off at 10.15 on Sunday.
The Great North Snowdogs is organized by St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice with local businesses and organisations sponsoring individual dogs to raise funds for the charity. The 61 dogs make up the 10-week trial, encouraging more people to get out and explore the North East.
For more information on Kielder Marathon, visit www.kieldermarathon.com, or for more information on the Great North Snowdogs visit www.gratnorthsnowdogs.co.uk.
For more information contact Paul White on 0191-3015325 Bryn Littleton of Creo Communications on 0191-5623134 or at email@example.com