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by leem

October 19, 2010

Marathon Man Darren Kielder 17/10/10 Updated with race report

Along with 934 others Darren Purvis ran the first Kielder Marathon finishing a brilliant 8th overall in a time 2:44:16. The course is a spectacular and inspiring challenge.  Rarely leaving the shores of Kielder Water, it follows the Lakeside Way meandering through the forest and heath land that surrounds the lake.  There are a few inclines to negotiate but most are of the short sharp nature and are rewarded afterwards with nice long stretches of easy running.  Most inclines come in the first 15 miles or so and the final few miles are amongst the easiest running on the course. The North East 10 mile road champion ran a half marathon split of 1:16:33 and said after the race it was the hardest race he has ever done. Kielder 2010 Darren Purvis race report It was an early Sunday morning as I opened the blinds to see a hard white frost on the ground outside. A light breakfast of porridge and toast at 6am, with a Keith (Ch-le-St) picking myself up at 7am and then picking up Phil (Ch-le-St) at 7.15am. Soon we were on our way and once on the country roads we knew we were close, with the roads soon busy with hundreds of other cars making their way to Kielder. The race was due to start at 10am, but was put back to around 10.10am due to congestion on the roads. On arrival to Kielder the outside temperature was showing -3◦ and with the dam was disappearing in to the mist, with the scene now set for a cold start. The official start was about a 10 minute walk from Leaplish. After following a path we could see the start in the distance and as we got closer, there seemed no way to get through to the line without jumping the barriers and running through the wooded tree line to the side of the track. Eventually we made it to the start but there felt a real reluctance from the majority of athletes to step up to the line. We had no hesitation in taking our places and we stood tall with around thirty other athletes. The race was started by Steve Cram and once the hooter sounded, we were off. The first 400m was up an incline and this should have given everyone an indication of the terrain that lay ahead. After the first mile, we were in a small group of about 10. The pace was steady, with the terrain and tight turns along the path making it tricky. I was aware that two of the guys were Kenyans and that for myself to continue at the current pace would not be possible for the full distance. At mile 2-3 I was running in 4th place, at mile 4 I managed to lead if only for around 400m, then at around mile 7 I decided that I had to get in to a comfortable rhythm if I were to complete the race. I then slipped back in to 7th place and between mile 7 and the end of the race it was a lonely run, with the latter part of the race to prove more a mental battle. The course was described as undulating, but if I were to make a comparison to the course it would equate to running up and down the hills around Beamish woods for three hours. The first half of the race consisted of short steep inclines and declines, with the second half comprising of more slight undulations and two major inclines. Between mile 19 to 20 was where I met with the dreaded ‘wall’. It was fortunate that there was a family picnicking at the top of the hill around the 20 mile point, where I was able to obtain a half eaten flapjack. This intake of food gave me both an energy and mental boost to get through the remainder of the race. At mile 25 I was passed by another athlete who seemed to sprint past, but I think it was more that i had come to crawling pace. The last mile twisted through a wooded area, with the path providing the last test as athletes approached the finish line. The last 200m were lined with spectators shouting for athletes on approach and with the last bit of energy I managed a sprint, but from where that burst of energy came I will never know. I completed the race in 8th place in 2:44:12. My friend were both close behind, with Keith finishing in 12th place in 2:53 and Phil in 17th place in 3hrs. After the race we all met up in the massage area, where we all lay on the massage beds for the next half an hour. We were all exhausted, glad to be finished, very glad of the massage, reflecting on the race and talking about coming back next year to do it all again.

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