Chris Toon of Grantham Running Club headed north again, this time to Northumberland, to take part in the Kielder Half Marathon on Sunday 7th October. The half marathon is a supporting race for the Kielder Marathon, brainchild of athletics legend Steve Cram, and is proclaimed to be Britain’s most beautiful race.
Whilst the marathon takes in a full lap of the largest man-made lake in northern Europe, the half starts on the lake’s dam before heading into Kielder forest along the North Shore using forestry roads for around three miles before returning to follow the marathon course on the south bank of the lake via an undulating asphalt track, finishing at the Leaplish Visitor Park on the west side of the vast mass of water.
On a chilly morning with a southeasterly proving to be a headwind for much of the course, Chris knew it was going to be a tough race. After another strong start Chris found his lack of experience on the challenging terrain a limiting factor in his performance and by mile eight was feeling the hurt. Digging in and battling onto the finish Chris finished in a modest time of 1:54:03, but finished a respectable 225th out of the 894 finishers.