Laura Graham Retains AAI National Marathon Title in Dublin
31 October 2017
Mourne Runners athlete and winner of this year’s Belfast City Marathon, Laura Graham, again deservedly stole the headlines as she retained her Athletics Ireland National Marathon title at the Dublin Marathon (Sunday 29th October 2017).
Thousands of local runners joined the record breaking 20,000 field for the 38th addition of the increasingly popular event, which was also the AAI National Marathon Championships.
Kilkeel based Laura sealed an impressive victory in what was, for the most part, a closely contested ladies race. Olympian Catriona Jennings (Letterkenny AC) and Ireland international Barbara Sanchez (Clonliffe Harriers) were in contention early on, but Laura moved clear as the race progressed, before breaking the tape in 2:39:06 – this was enough to retain the AAI gold medal and secure an outstanding 4th place overall. The ladies race was won by Nataliya Lehonkova in 2:28:57 (1st place).
After the race, a smiling Laura told Athletics NI, “I’m absolutely delighted! We knew it would be a tough race today and it was - it was an excellent race! I’m just so happy that I was able to retain my National title; that means a lot to me.”
Catriona Jennings followed in 2:42:36, while Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers) completed the AAI Championship podium in 2:50:55. Marathon debutant Denise Logue (Ballydrain Harriers) impressed with a 2:58:53 finish for 17th place overall.
In the men’s race, which was won by Belfast City Marathon 2017 Champion Bernard Riotich (Kenya) in 2:15:52, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) led the NI contingent home in 2:19:44 (13th place overall – 4th place AAI finisher). Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) picked up AAI gold after crossing the line in 2:16:05 (4th place).
City of Derry AC duo Mark Long (2:35:27) and Kyle Doherty (2:35:38) also finished well up the record breaking field.
Elsewhere in the marathon, Northern Ireland international Fionnuala Ross (Armagh AC) clocked 2:48:44 for 13th place at the Frankfurt Marathon in Germany (Sunday 29th October 2017).