Former Olympic athlete and world record holder Steve Cram has today unveiled plans for a new international sports event – the Kielder Marathon. Scheduled to take place on October 17, the marathon will follow an almost entirely off-road course around northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, Kielder Water, in Northumberland, North East England. Cram, who came up with the idea for the event, has called it ‘Britain’s most beautiful marathon’.
The marathon will follow the newly completed Lakeside Way, a trail that stretches right around the shoreline of Kielder Water. For the inaugural event, Cram and his team of organisers are limiting the number of entrants to around 1,000, and expect to attract runners and outdoor adventure enthusiasts from around the world to the dramatic setting and unique course.
Steve Cram MBE, who is about to head to Canada to commentate on the Winter Olympic Games, has long wished for such an event to be staged in the area around Kielder Water, which is not far from where he now lives.
He said: “Kielder Water & Forest Park is my favourite place to run in the world and with the water’s shoreline being 26 miles long it’s an ideal venue for the ultimate running challenge, the marathon. Most of the course is off-road and it offers a wonderful test for trail runners, adventure racers and marathon enthusiasts alike. Add to that the stunning setting, with a wonderful new view at every twist and turn, and I think that this is quickly going to establish a reputation as the most beautiful marathon in Britain.”
The Lakeside Way, a £3m project which forms the marathon course, is a multi-user trail suitable for walkers, runners, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair and pushchair users. The trail offers visitors new views and the opportunity to interact with even more of the park’s abundant wildlife and take in its scenic landscape.
The Kielder Marathon will measure the official marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards and event organisers estimate that the best athletes will complete the race in less than two and a half hours. However, runners and outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities will be encouraged to enter. The event will start and finish at Northumbrian Water’s Leaplish Waterside Park and be part of a whole weekend of activities for all ages and abilities, with a big focus on attracting families to the site.
Regional development agency, One North East, and Northumbrian Water have provided the necessary funding to turn the Kielder Marathon dream into reality and it will be jointly organised by Extra Mile Events and Roberts and Partners. Dave Roberts, who heads up Roberts and Partners, was a co-founder of the Great North Run.
Runners who are interested in registering an interest for a place on the Kielder Marathon should visit www.kieldermarathon.com.