“If you’d have said when I was a kid that I’d be running a marathon, I’d never have believed you.”
A few months ago, we put a call out on our social media pages asking if anyone had done the Kielder Marathon as their first ever marathon. Many see Kielder as a challenging course with plenty of (literal) ups and downs and we were wondering what that feels like to a new marathon runner.
We received the following reply from runner David Edwards which tells a great story from the point of view of a runner jumping to the iconic 26.2 mile challenge for the first time at Britain’s Most Beautiful marathon.
“I’d been participating in events at Kielder for several years (the run sections of the RunBikeRun for example) when, in 2015, a few friends and me were on the start line for the Kielder Half Marathon. As the announcer began the preliminaries, someone shouted “Half Marathon?! That’s not a Marathon is it?!”. I knew then what my really competitive mate would say as we were on the bus back to the car part after completing the half. As we crossed the dam, and passed all the tired runners with ten miles still to go, he said “We’re doing that next year.”
The training runs during the summer were hard but there was something nice about the fact that I knew it would all end at Kielder, perhaps my favourite place to visit now since participating in the events. Sunday mornings became a nervous time as I set off on a 13, 15, 20 and 25 mile run. With a good podcast and a playlist full of Rocky music though, I began to enjoy it.
As I stood on the Leaplish start line in October 2016 with five friends, including the ultra-competitive one, my legs were shaking and, as we started running, they continued to shake for the first few km before I found my rhythm. I love so many parts of Kielder – running through parts of the forest, going across the long bridge, the challenge of the big inlet and then crossing the dam and heading back. It was an incredible day and if you’d have said when I was a kid (who hated all sport) that I’d be running a marathon, I’d never have believed you.
It was one of the best days of my life and, as always, was brilliantly run with great volunteers. I’ve been back every year since and Kielder weekend is the one I look forward to more than any other running weekend and long may it continue as I come back in 2019 to do the Run Bike Run with my brother and then the half again.
Good luck David and thank you for sharing your fantastic, inspirational story!