Publish date: 29 March 2022

Athletics legend teams up with midwifery team to deliver running inspiration

A photograph with seven people with active Northumberland and Kielder marathon flags in the background

Organisers and partners of one of the North East’s best loved running events have teamed up to encourage residents of Northumberland to get more active.

Athletics legend Steve Cram was joined by three members of the Berwick midwifery team to lead a group run from the brand new Active Northumberland Berwick Sports & Leisure Centre on Thursday, March 24.

The event highlighted opportunities to take part in the Kielder Marathon series of races over the weekend of October 1-2 and the support available from event partners to help novice athletes train and prepare.

Labelled ‘Britain’s most beautiful’ and now in its 12th year, the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon weekend is organised by Events of the North in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland County Council and Northumbrian Water.

More than 3,500 runners are expected to take part across the weekend, which includes a 10K, individual and team duathlons, a half-marathon, a marathon, and junior races. Alongside leading club athletes, many runners will be raising money for good causes, including the event’s official charity partner, Bright Northumbria.

Managed by Active Northumberland, the new £22.6million Berwick Sports & Leisure Centre has been funded by Northumberland County Council and is a state-of-the-art facility for residents in the north of the county.

Active Northumberland is offering couch to 5K support to residents at the Berwick site and centres throughout the county, with the aim of attracting new runners during the summer who will consider making participation in a Kielder Marathon race their autumn target. In addition, Active Northumberland members will be offered an exclusive discount for entering one of the events.

Kielder Marathon founder Steve Cram led a run from the new centre with Northumbria Healthcare’s Paula Thomas, Ailsa Wedderburn and Wendy Scott, who are helping to deliver the trust’s public health agenda. They were joined by representatives from Active Northumberland and Northumberland County Council, and all echoed a call to action to residents to sign up for a Kielder Marathon event.

Steve Cram said: “We all know how important getting active is for everyone’s physical and mental health, but simply repeating that statement time and again won’t change anything. So, it’s brilliant that Northumberland County Council has invested in this excellent new facility and we’re delighted to be working with Active Northumberland and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to really push the message about the support available to residents

“Talking of pushing, as midwives who work at the heart of the community, Paula, Ailsa and Wendy are fantastic ambassadors and I am sure that they will encourage more people to take up running and join us at Kielder in October.”

Northumbria Healthcare is one of just four organisations in the country to be part of the Active Hospitals pilot, which seeks to train healthcare professionals to promote physical activity and signpost patients to resources or support services for physical activity.

The trust’s coordinator for Active Hospitals, Ruth Stevens, said: “Any kind of physical activity and movement is beneficial and can boost your physical, mental and social wellbeing, which is why we are so keen to ensure that our staff can be active themselves and can also explain and promote the benefits to patients.

“An event like the Kielder Marathon can play a major role in encouraging people to get active, but whether it’s running a marathon, exploring the fantastic Northumberland countryside or something much smaller, every movement counts and it’s all about discovering the right activity for you.”

Brenda Longstaff, Northumbria Healthcare’s head of charity, added: “As an NHS charity, we are only too aware of the benefits that physical activity and enjoying the outdoors can have on people’s health and wellbeing, which is why we are delighted that Bright is the main charity partner for this year’s Kielder Marathon once again. This will support us in our ongoing fundraising efforts, which all serve to enhance the experience for our patients.”

The 2022 Kielder Marathon weekend is October 1-2 and entries are now open for all events. For more information about the Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon races and to book a place, visit