Over 1,000 exhausted but exhilarated runners crossed the finish line of what is undoubtedly Britain′s most beautiful marathon today (Sunday 7 October).
They kicked off day two of the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon weekend, which saw nearly 1,000 athletes participating in the Kielder Half Marathon and 100 children in the Junior Races.
The whole weekend has been the biggest yet, seeing over 3,500 runners, travelling from right across the region - and as far afield as the Philippines - to participate in races at Northumbrian Water′s Kielder Waterside.
Double Olympic Decathlon legend Daley Thompson was present at the weekend, which included the Kielder 10k and the Run Bike Run races on the Saturday, and was on hand to start all of the races.
The Marathon winner was Russell Maddams, who crossed the finish line in just 2hours 46mins and 24secs. Wendy Chapman was the first female through, in 3hours 14mins and 19secs.
Luke Adams was the winner of the Half Marathon, finishing in 1hour 15mins and 57secs, while the first female was Elaine McKechnie. She crossed the line in 1hour, 37mins and 56secs.
Steve Cram, Race Organiser at Events of the North, said: "The ninth Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon has blown us all away. There′s been record numbers, a fantastic atmosphere with even more spectators coming out to support loved ones and what an unbelievable start, with the light artillery guns setting the half marathon and marathon runners on their way.
"It′s been an even busier Runner′s Village at Kielder Waterside this year, with all sorts going on from the Active Northumberland health activities, to the Cryopod, and I was really pleased to welcome my good mate Daley Thompson to Northumberland for the event.
"This year will be hard to top, but planning starts now for the tenth anniversary!"
The Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon weekend, is delivered by Events of the North in conjunction with Northumbrian Water, Active Northumberland, Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council said: "It′s been a fantastic weekend at Kielder with over 3,500 competitors taking part over the weekend, the biggest to date.
"We′re delighted to be supporting the event for the second year running. The Kielder Marathon weekend is now a major event in the UK sporting calendar, attracting visitors from over 15 countries, so it′s a huge opportunity to showcase everything that′s great about our county.
"Congratulations to everyone involved - the event organisers, competitors, and spectators - who′ve all made it a huge success. We couldn′t have asked for more."
David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water, said: "What an incredible weekend. We′re so proud that Northumbrian Water has been able to provide the backdrop to what clearly is Britain′s most beautiful marathon.
"Well done to everyone who has helped make it happen - we′re really looking forward to the tenth anniversary next year."
1st male - Russell Maddams, Keswick AC - 02:46:24
2nd male - Ali Bailey - 02:55:45
3rd male - Andrew Hebden, Morpeth Harriers - 02:59:37
1st female - Wendy Chapman, Sunderland Strollers - 03:14:19
2nd female - Melanie Staley, Royston Runners - 03:31:59
3rd female - Debbie Crozier - 03:37:18
1st male - Luke Adams, South Shields Harriers - 01:15:57
2nd male - Will Hogg - 01:20:38
3rd male - Robert Holt, Ponteland Runners - 01:20:38
1st female - Elaine McKechnie, Gosforth Harriers - 01:37:56
2nd female - Kirsteen Haughan, Giffnock North Athletics Club - 01:38:29
3rd female - Fiona Jones, Elvet Striders - 01:39:11
Osprey (under 11)
1st Freya Lillie, Middlesbrough Mandale - 00:07:25
2nd Callum Chambers, Birtley AC - 00:07:30
3rd Luke Page, Blaydon Harriers - 00:07:36
Falcon (under 16)
1st Tom Balsdon, Morpeth Harriers - 00:08:57
2nd Ciaran Lines, Sedgefield Harriers - 00:09:40
3rd Liam Brittle, Darlington Harriers - 00:09:50
Northumbrian Water Limited supplies 2.7 million customers in the North East with both water and sewerage services, trading as Northumbrian Water, and 1.8 million customers in the South East with water services, trading as Essex & Suffolk Water.
In 2017 Northumbrian Water was named Utility of the Year at the Utility Week Awards, for the second time in four years. The company has followed this up in 2018 by winning the UK Excellence Award at the British Quality Foundation (BQF) UK Excellence Awards, and Water Company of the Year at the Water Industry Achievement Awards. Northumbrian Water also received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for sustainable development for a second time in 2014, which is accredited for five years. This recognises the company as a business which benefits the environment, society and the economy.