At the OutFit Christmas meal last December – on the table which included Bill Owen and myself, the chatter turned to goals for the coming year. Despite being a generally very fit, active individual before he started with us, Bill hadn’t really done any running of note – being a keen mountain biker and walker in particular. Having completed a couple of local running events, and made great progress at the HillFit sessions and with some Personal Training – he’d obviously been thinking. He revealed that his main goal for 2016 was to take on the Kielder Marathon in October – Northumberland being obviously a beautiful part of the country, but also one that Bill and his family have a connection to anyway. By the time desert was finished, 7 of us were going up!

So, I joined OutFit members Bill, Andrew, Dave, Dan, Mark and Ophelia at the Kielder Marathon festival on Sunday. 5 took part in the Marathon, including myself and 2 took part in the Half. 2 very demanding courses, though incredibly beautiful. Perfect weather, with conditions being cool, sunny and still – ensuring fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. Dan and Mark, taking part in their second and first Half Marathon’s respectively, did brilliantly to finish in 1:54 and 1:57 – with the Half route adopting the second half of the full marathon route, and I can assure you it was pretty bumpy!

For the marathon, Ophelia, Bill and Andrew were embarking on their first run at this distance – whilst me and Dave had done a fair few before. Regular HillFit attendees, they all found the hills easier going than most and their strength in this department showed. Although none of the hills were particularly steep or long – there were plenty of them – coupled with fast, runnable sections that made you work hard – even if at the time you felt comfortable, this tends to catch up with you in the latter stages of marathon distance! They all did brilliantly, completing the 26.2m and 2000ft of climb, crossing the line in times ranging from 4:38-4:59, which were bonuses really, completion being the name of the game here – and just having a good time away with like minded people. I managed to dip under 4 hours with 3:56.39 – which is pretty good for me 🙂

It’s so good to see people enjoying the rewards of their hard work – and enjoying themselves doing something hugely positive. Seeing customers achieve, whether it be completing a tough trail Half/Full Marathon or gaining the strength to get up from a chair unaided  – is a wonderful part of this job! Well done everyone, and thanks to Bill for planting the seed!