…and today (Sunday 3 October), two years on, amid (something about the weather and excitement) thousands of runners turned out in force to mark a triumphant return.
With more than 1,100 runners taking on the Kielder Marathon and Kielder Half Marathon, and a further 75 in the Junior races, adding to those in the 10k and Run Bike Run on Saturday, a total of around 2,500 competitors took part across the weekend.
The event took place at Northumbrian Water’s Landal Kielder Waterside park, with the backdrop of the stunning Kielder Reservoir.
The Marathon winner was Russell Maddams from Keswick AC, who crossed the finish line in just 2 hours 54 minutes and 25 seconds for his third win in the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon. Fellow former winners Ian Twaddle and Cees Van Der Land came in second and third. Jo Ballantyne was the first female through, in 3 hours 35 minutes and 21 seconds.
David Holmes was the winner of the Half Marathon, finishing in 1 hour 16 minutes and 39 seconds, while the first female was Anna McClean. She crossed the line in 1 hour, 38 minutes and 32 seconds.
Marcus Cram, Race Co-ordinator at Events of the North, said: "When we packed away the bunting and barriers in 2019, we didn’t expect to be waiting two years to be back for the 11th Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon.
“It’s been a tough couple of years, and the importance of exercise to people’s wellbeing has never been more evident. So to be able to bring people together to celebrate the joys of running and cycling has resonated more strongly than ever this weekend.
“It’s been amazing to see people turn out to take part or to cheer others on and we hope it’s a reflection of brighter days to come and we look forward to being back again in 2022.”
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.
Mark Warnes, Chief Executive of Active Northumberland said: “It has been heartening to see all ages getting involved, from children as young as six years of age taking part in short junior runs, to well-seasoned runners who are taking part in the full marathon. On Friday Active Northumberland also held a walking event so those who are unable to run, could also take part and enjoy the stunning setting.
“I think that is the great appeal of this weekend – it has something for everyone. I’m so pleased to see Kielder Marathon weekend is back to its spectacular best.”
David Hall, Head of Commercial Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water, said: "It’s been truly emotional welcoming the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon back to Kielder Waterside. We know how hard the last two years have been for so many people, and there have been times where this beautiful part of the world has been without visitors to help keep people safe, so the significance of this weekend is immense.
“On behalf of everyone at Northumbrian Water, I just want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has made this amazing weekend so special.”
Northumberland County Councillor, Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member for Health Lives said: “It has been a brilliant weekend. Kielder is such a unique location and people have travelled far and wide to come to Northumberland to take part - which is fantastic for the county, the surrounding rural businesses and for the many charities that will benefit through fund raising.
“Well done to everyone who has taken part and to all those involved in the organisation of the weekend.”
Claire Riley, Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It has been another fantastic year for the events here at Kielder, it’s great to see so many participants getting involved. I would just like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of our partners and especially to the volunteers who make the whole thing possible. We are incredibly grateful for all of the money raised for our Bright charity which will go on to benefit our staff and our patients.”
To see highlights from the weekend including pictures, videos and interviews visit Northumbrian Water’s Facebook page and Twitter account (@NorthumbrianH2O).
1st male – Russell Maddams, Keswick AC - 02:54:25
2nd male – Ian Twaddle – 03:04:18
3rd male – Cees Van Der Land – 03:05:13
1st female – Jo Ballantyne - 03:35:21
2nd female – Kiri Wood 03:39:55
3rd female – Clare Hanson 03:41:38
1st male – David Holmes - 01:16:39
2nd male – John Butters, Morpeth Harriers - 01:18:33
3rd male – Rob Kleiser - 01:25:55
1st female – Anna McClean, Low Fell RC - 01:38:32
2nd female – Tugba Mutlu - 01:41:09
3rd female – Alice Strawbridge - 01:42:54
Osprey (under 11)
1st Arthur Byrne, Prudhoe Plodders - 00:04:50
2nd Jay Bagnall - 00:05:01
3rd Max Tawn - 00:05:04
Falcon (under 16)
1st Jonas Tipping, Radley Athletic Club - 00:06:33
2nd Charlie Digby - 00:06:57
3rd Tom Caldwell - 00:07:14
1st Islay Wilson – 00:06:52
2nd Erin Booth – 00:12:01
3rd Jessica Rys – 00:12:30
Pics: Richard Rayner