Jenny and Clive made the trip to beautiful Northumberland for the seventh Kielder marathon. It’s the highlight of a full weekend of running and cycling events and there were excellent logistical arrangements in place, including park and ride buses, good cafes and lots of toilets.
The day started with scraping ice off the car and a short 20 min drive to the car park, then a 10 min bus ride and plenty of time for a cuppa and kit faffing before leaving our drop bag at the finish. The race started at Leaplish at 10.30 (15 mins late) and took us through the woods and in a loop back through the start/finish area and out onto the clockwise lakeside path. The school kids were out to form a fun line of high-fives. We felt like heroes (just for one day).
The scenery was quite something and once we warmed up, the conditions were perfect; a light breeze and some clouds preventing it from getting too hot. The first half of the course was undulating with some short, steep climbs and descents.Clive started midway in the pack while Jenny started further back in the field with friends Chris and Andy from saints and sinners RC. Clive’s ‘holding back’ strategy took a hit at mile 2 with a ridiculous 6:49 min/mile pace. At halfway he was doing a little too well with a sub 1:40 time, which he realised may bite back later.
Jenny’s ‘keep running’ and ‘walk the steep bits’ method meant that there was always time in hand for a spot of photography and she felt strong at halfway.
After halfway, we were counting down the miles to the dam, which was the only flat mile of the course about two-thirds of the way round. It got tougher therein and we were grateful for the cheery marshals and encouraging spectators every mile or so to keep it going. The finish straight was perhaps the longest 400m ever but the cheering crowd was a very welcome sight.
Clive finished in 3.51.47, 115th, also a pb, which was a massive improvement on his 2010 Rutland Marathon time of 6:04, or his Marathon split time of 4:15 on the Great Railway Ultra in 2015.
Jenny finished in 5.51.54, 598th, improving on her time at the 2010 Rutland water marathon by 15 mins.