Kielder Marathon gains in status on back of Olympic fever
Last updated at 15:55, Monday, 15 October 2012
FOLLOWING the controversy of last year’s event, the third Salomon Kielder Marathon passed without incident when thousands once again descended on the shoreline.
The 2011 marathon received global coverage when it was alleged Sunderland Harrier Rob Sloan jumped on a spectator bus before rejoining the route and crossing the line in third place.
He was subsequently disqualified, stripped of his third position and kicked out of his running club despite denying the allegations.
Organiser Steve Cram, a former Olympic athlete and world record holder, was pleased that there was no negative publicity this time around and all involved could appreciate what the area had to offer by running ‘Britain’s Most Beautiful Marathon.’
He said: “Kielder Water and Forest Park was always my favourite place to run in the world and I had always dreamed of holding a marathon there.
“With Olympic fever sweeping the nation this year, everyone was keen to get involved and we’ve had another hugely successful year.”
The marathon, an almost entirely off-road course around the £3m Lakeside Way trail, attracted 1,193 runners as it continues to attract large-scale attention.
Taking home the honour of finishing the 26.2-mile route before anyone else was Ceri Rees in a time of two hours, 39 minutes and 26 seconds.
After showing promise as a youngster by scooping the Inter-Counties Cross-Country U17 title in 1989 and the Junior Great North Run in 1990, running had taken a back seat.
However, he has made a solid return since returning to running in 2005 and he showed his talents by crossing the line more than 10 minutes before his nearest rival.
Finishing as runner-up in a time of 02.53:57 was Dave Charlton, while Robert Clark (02.56:02) was third.
In eighth place overall was fastest female Angela Mudge (02.59:28), with Mel Rotherham (03.26:39) second and Kate Jenkins (03.29:56) in third.
But it was not just the marathon which brought runners flocking to Kielder as the weekend was packed with sporting challenges.
The previous day, the Kielder 10k was run, as was the Kielder Run Bike Run, whereas the Kielder Junior Runs were run during the marathon.
The 10k race proved to be more popular than ever as it sold out in just its second year and there was a local lad bringing home the glory.
Hexham lad Tim Calder, a Gateshead Harrier, put in a great performance to cross in 34 minutes and 24 seconds.
But runner-up Kevin Jeffress, of Tyne Bridge Harriers, pushed him all the way by finishing just seven seconds behind, and Matt Ward, of Salomon, was third in just over 37 minutes.
After narrowly missing out on London 2012 marathon qualification, GB athlete Aly Dixon, of Chester-le-Street, contented herself with fastest female in 37:02.
The Kielder Run Bike Run, over the marathon course, could either be completed as a three team relay or individual duathlon.
Coming first was the Gas Company, a team made of Sean Poulter, Andy Robinson and Dean Watson, from Doncaster, in 01:58:33, ahead of Tyneside’s Nexus team of Steve Booth, Alun Morley and Paul Hilton.
Third place, and first individual, was Jared Bethell, of Harlow, in 02:09:13.
First published at 09:08, Monday, 15 October 2012
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk