Sports

Laura Makes Race History

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Laura Makes Race History thumbnailYesterday Laura Graham became the first woman from Northern Ireland to win the Belfast Marathon in 18 years.

KILKEEL'S Laura Graham has been crowned the first Irish athlete to clinch victory at the Belfast Marathon in 18 years.

More than 15,000 runners pounded the streets of Belfast yesterday (Monday) for the city's 36th annual marathon, which is the biggest sporting event in Northern Ireland.

Mother-of-four Laura clinched victory in the women's race in a personal best time of 2:41:45, just eight days after running the London Marathon in a time of 2:42:38.

The 31-year-old, who is a member of Mourne Runners club, is the first local woman to triumph at the event since Barbara Brewer in 1999.

Laura's winning time was eight seconds inside her previous best when she clinched the Irish National title at last year's Dublin Marathon and ended 2016 on a high.

This was the second consecutive year Laura has tackled both races within days of one another.

After finishing the Belfast Marathon, Laura told BBC News NI. "I feel I've to wake up yet!"

She added: "It (running) started all with those kids of mine. I'm doing it for them. Payton, Jaden, Leila and Darcy."

Graham ran her first Belfast Marathon six years ago to raise money after her father had suffered a heart attack.

She says she just went out for a run one day and got the bug for it.

Meanwhile, Kenya's Bernard Rotich won the men's race in a time of 2:16:2.

The marathon started at Belfast City Hall and finished in the Ormeau Park, with many competitors also taking part in the relay race raising funds for this year's official charity Mencap.

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