More than 1,000 took part in the first half of a major sporting event in Northumberland today.
The Saturday races of the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon weekend, which is being held at Northumbrian Water’s Leaplish Waterside Park in Kielder Water & Forest Park, included the Kielder 10k.
Around 900 runners signed up for it and the finishing time for the winner, David Beech of Blyth Running Club, was 35 minutes and two seconds.
The 36-year-old said: “My tactics were to go out quite hard on that first hill, to see if I could get a bit of a lead, and then pretty much hang on for the last two kilometres, which I did.
“I came third two years ago, but I didn’t quite get my time again – I was a bit slow today but I’ve been injured, but it’s good to have won.”
Olympian Aly Dixon was the first female home, and second overall, finishing in 36 minutes and 22 seconds.
She said: “My last few races have been the Rio Olympics, Great North Run, Disneyland Half Marathon and then this, and this race is just as good as any of them.
“It’s just a beautiful setting that we are in and I’m back in the North East and I love doing races in the North East, I get fantastic support and it’s pretty special.”
The second male to finish was Michael Edwards of Sunderland Harriers (37 mins 29 secs) and third was David Fuller of Crystal Peak Runners (38 mins 16 secs).
Jess Fox of Sunderland Harriers (40 mins 25 secs) and Fiona Belgian from Jog On The Tyne (42 mins 25 secs) were second and third female respectively.
Meanwhile the Kielder Run-Bike-Run saw 161 individuals and 35 teams tackle the marathon distance split into three parts.
Individuals or teams of three competed in an 11km run, a 26km bike ride and a 5km run. Spectators saw hundreds of bikes in use at the transition stations.
Morpeth Harrier Chris Smith, 36, from Wallsend, was the first to finish in (1 hour, 59 mins, 49 secs).
He said: “I loved it. The first leg was great on the run, the second leg on the bike, absolutely atrocious. It was my first ever multi-event, with not enough bike training, evidently.
“Jon Moss (who finished second in two hours and 57 seconds) caught me on the bike with about a mile-and-a-half to go and I couldn’t get anywhere near him, but luckily I had the legs on him on the last leg.”
Paul Cooper was third in a time of two hours, 8 mins, 29 secs.
The top three females were Samantha Dainty (two hours, 29 mins, 01 secs), Philippa Graham (two hours, 30 mins, 28 secs) and Sam Crooks (two hours, 33 mins, 51 secs).
Sedgefield Specials were the winning team. Powered By Gas were second and Graeme ‘N’ 2 Youngans were third.
Tomorrow, about 2,000 runners will follow the off-road course around northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, Kielder Water, in either the main marathon itself or the new half marathon.
The weekend is run by Events of the North, a company led by Olympians Steve Cram and Allison Curbishley, in conjunction with Northumbrian Water, Active Northumberland, and Northumberland County Council.
Coun Val Tyler, the county council’s cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “As a tourist event, this weekend actually brings people from all over the country to come to run in this most magnificent setting that we have here.
“I think everybody I’ve spoken to today has had an amazing time.”