A team of north east pole dancers will swap their poles for running shoes to take part in an iconic race.
Eight girls from one of the region’s leading pole dancing schools, Northern Pole Dance in Newcastle, are limbering up for pole position in the popular Kielder 10K run.
The 10K run is part of a weekend of athletics events hosted by Northumbrian Water and staged in Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October.
The activities over the weekend are a test for any fitness level, and the girls at Northern Pole Dance are used to a strenuous workout.
Aimee Lawson, aged 31, from Hexham who is Managing Director at Northern Pole Dance, said: "People always associate pole dancing with a sleazy image but it’s not that at all. It’s becoming common knowledge that it’s for fitness and it offers a full body workout. It’s hard work!"
In recent years, pole dancing has traded the bars and clubs for dance studios and gyms, becoming recognised as a physically demanding sport.
It focuses on feats of strength, balance and flexibility, with several gyms now offering pole dancing classes alongside regular fitness classes.
Aimee added: "This will be the third year I’ve done the 10K run. The scenery is amazing - every time you get tired, you run round the corner and there’s another amazing view which keeps you going."
Hundreds of people from around the UK and further afield will take part in the weekend of events which include the 10k run, a run-bike run over the full marathon distance for teams of three or individuals, junior races and the full marathon.
The events follow the Lakeside Way, a trail that stretches right around the shoreline of Kielder Water, which is northern Europe’s largest man-made lake.
Former Olympic athlete and world record holder, Steve Cram MBE, who founded the events said: "It’s fantastic that those from alternative sporting backgrounds are getting involved in some of the events of the weekend. "Kielder Water and Forest Park recently won gold for the best tourism experience in the country and the marathon weekend is one of the attractions which make it number one.
"It’s a beautiful marathon, it has beautiful scenery, it’s a beautiful course and now these pole dancing ladies are bringing another touch of beauty to the weekend!
"The Marathon is in its fourth year now, getting more successful every time. The wonderful thing is that there is something for the whole family to take part in. I would urge anybody who wants to take part in any of the events to secure their place as soon as possible."
Marathon places will be allocated on a first come first served basis – there is no ballot this year. To book a place log on to the event website at www.salomonkieldermarathon.com. For enquiries telephone 01434 689 040 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm)