‘Britain’s most beautiful marathon’ goes virtual to support local NHS charity

Details have been unveiled of a series of virtual events that will be held on the weekend when the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon should have been taking place. Following the cancellation of this year’s planned event due to COVID-19, participants in the virtual races will instead have the opportunity to complete solo runs at distances from one mile to the full marathon, between Friday 2 and Sunday 4 October. Every runner can earn a special Kielder medal and tote bag and a proportion of each entry fee will be donated to the Kielder Marathon’s official charity partner, Bright Northumbria, which supports the hospital and community health facilities within Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The virtual Kielder Marathon events will include the full and half marathon distances, plus 10K and a special ‘Run Like A Legend Mile’. Anyone who wants to take part can register online at http://kieldermarathon.com/virtual-event and, with the help of a special app, record and submit their best time for a solo run at any time from 2-4 October. All times that are submitted will be validated and results will appear online. Runners can tackle any or multiple distances – entry for each costs £12.50 and the price includes a bespoke medal and tote bag, with the option of adding a technical t-shirt or headband to the registration. There will be prizes for the top three runners in all four events, plus spot prizes, and £2 from every entry fee will be donated to NHS charity Bright Northumbria.

The Kielder Marathon weekend is organised by Events of the North, in conjunction with hosts Northumbrian Water, and partners including Northumberland County Council, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Active Northumberland. During 2020, COVID-19 has forced Events of the North to cancel its portfolio of races, but the company has instead hosted a series of successful virtual events. Kielder will be the fifth and final of these and everyone who has taken part in all of them will be entered into a prize draw to win free entry for each of the five Events of the North events when they return in 2021.

Steve Cram, Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon event founder and race director, comments: “We’re so disappointed that we can’t all meet up at Kielder this year for Britain’s most beautiful marathon and we can’t wait to return in 2021. This is certainly not how we intended or expected to hold events this year, but our virtual races have proved to be very popular. They have helped people to focus on objectives and not waste the hard work that they had already started putting into training for scheduled races. It won’t be the same as being at Kielder, but I am sure that runners will find some lovely local routes during their solo marathons, half marathons, 10Ks and miles, and help us to raise funds for Bright Northumbria, which really needs our support in these difficult times.”