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A marathon to really take the breath away; 2,000 to take part in scenic run around Kielder.

Byline: Paul Tully

IT is as Britain's most beautiful marathon - and it's up and running again this weekend. The Salomon Kielder Marathon consists of a 26.2-mile route around Kielder Water in Northumberland with nearly 2,000 runners taking part, doubling the figure for last year's inaugural event.

Though the main event is tomorrow, today sees the Redspottedhanky.com 10k, a new race with almost 350 entrants.

Also starting at 1pm today is the Kielder-Run-Bike-Run, a relay event with 135 participants with the marathon distance split into three parts - an 11km run, a 26km bike ride and a 5km run. Both events begin at Leaplish Riverside Park.

All eyes will then be on the main Kielder Marathon, a mainly off-road run sponsored by mountain wear company Salomon, which gets under way at Leaplish at 10.15am.

Among the near-2,000 entry is a small elite field, including Northumberland's trail champion Nicky Swimburn and Saab Salomon team member Ricky Lightfoot, from Keswick.

Neither of last year's Kielder winners, Zak Kihara from Kenya or Great Britain's Lizzy Hawker are running this year.

The Kielder Junior Runs will also start at 11am at Leaplish tomorrow, with three age categories. The Osprey is an 800m run for under-10s, The Roman Mile is over 1.48km for under-13s, and The Centurion is a 2.5km race for under-16s.

While it's the winners who get the limelight, in fun runs like the Kielder Marathon everyone's a winner.

And even for Janice Brown, who finished last in the 2010 event with a marathon time of six hours and 58 minutes, 2011 was a must.

"I, along with everyone else who took part, am thrilled the event is taking place again in 2011," Janice said. "We're all desperate to attack those steep inclines again and better our times."

Tyneside athlete Steve Cram, whose company Extra Mile Media and Events is one of the Kielder Marathon's main organisers, said: "Everyone is excited and ready for the weekend to start.

"The atmosphere on the day last time was euphoric and the runners who completed the course with me said it was definitely the most memorable and scenic marathon course.

"The views were spectacular and everyone had a fantastic time. So much so that quite a few runners are coming back to tackle it again!"

CAPTION(S):

GREAT START Last year's run gets underway with a smart climb
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2011
Words:397
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