ATHLETICS: Winning marathon run

Vicky Nealon, 30,  won the Kielder Marathon
Vicky Nealon, 30, won the Kielder Marathon

When Vicky Nealon entered her second marathon she had no idea that she would win it!

The former Rugby & Northampton AC athlete had expected to be half way down the field, but to her surprise she was the first lady home in 3-22.42.

The Kielder Marathon around the shores of Kielder Water in Northumberland is dubbed ‘Britain’s most beautiful’ for its spectacular scenery.

Although the event, founded by former world champion athlete Steve Cram, is quite small compared with some marathons with only 850 competitors, the course is over tough terrain.

“And it rained all the way through,” said Vicky, 30, who plans to run the London Marathon in April.

“I never thought for a second I would win it. It was only in the later stages that people were telling me I was third lady, but even then I assumed the first two would be a couple of miles ahead.”

But Vicky overtook the second placed runner at about 23 miles and gained the lead in the last mile.

“It was quite surreal when I finished,” she explained. “I had just been hoping for a reasonable time, so to win was quite a shock!”

She had been training six days a week, most weeks, often accompanied by her German Shepherd-cross dog Digby.

Having switched from hurdling to distance running, Vicky’s first marathon was in Chester last year.