‘Britain’s most beautiful marathon’, which took place in Northumberland at the weekend, saw the event’s reigning champion score a hat-trick of wins.
Ceri Rees, the winner of the 2014 Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon, hosted by Northumbrian Water, is the first person in the five-year history of the event to win for the third consecutive year.
Ceri, 41, from Devon, beat his time from last year, completing the marathon in 2hr 39min 43sec.
He said: “The atmosphere today was really good. Kielder Marathon doesn’t get any easier, but it’s not about winning – it’s more about getting round the course.
“Kielder is beautiful and the course definitely helps the miles go faster.
“As far as trail-running goes, it’s right up there as one of Britain’s most beautiful courses.”
Myra Jones, 31, from Moortown, Leeds and a member of Valley Striders Athletics Club, was the first female to cross the finishing line.
Myra, who travelled up especially for the marathon, completed it in 3hr 17min and 58sec.
“This is the first time I’ve run Kielder Marathon and it was harder than I expected,” she said. “The course just feels constant and it was really windy by the dam wall – I’m exhausted!”
Billed as the most beautiful marathon in Britain, around 1,000 runners made their way around northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, Kielder Water, on Sunday.
Sunday also saw a number of children involved with the under-16 races, which included the Osprey (880m race for children aged seven to nine), the Roman Mile (1.48km race for children aged 10 to 12) and the Centurion (2.5km race for children aged 13 to 15).
The full weekend of events, including Kielder Junior Runs, Kielder 10K, Kielder Run Bike Run and the main marathon itself, has been attracting runners and outdoor adventure enthusiasts from around the world for the last five years.
Northumberland County Council and Active Northumberland sponsored and supported this year’s event.
Northumberland County councillor Val Tyler, policy board member for community infrastructure and culture, said: “Kielder provides an absolutely stunning venue for the marathon and is hugely popular with a range of outdoor-activity enthusiasts.
“This event is becoming a firm favourite on the race calendar and is really helping to put the county on the map.
“I’m sure the athletes who have taken part in this weekend’s events will be so impressed with the area and will return with their friends and family to explore our beautiful county and all it has to offer in the very near future.”