30 October 2016

Mourne Runners sensation Laura Graham added to her recent impressive performances yesterday, with her best result to date in the 19,000 strong SSE Dublin Marathon. The 30 year old was the first Irish finisher in 10th place in a huge PB time of 2 hrs 41mins 53 secs.

This achievement knocks a massive 6 mins off her previous best set in London last April. The time elevates Laura to 4th on the NI All Time list behind Teresa Duffy's 2 hrs 35 mins in 2001.

It was clear that 30 year Graham had the potential to run such a time, following her celebrated 2 marathons in 8 days last Spring which, included 2nd in the Belfast Marathon. In Dublin yesterday she battled over the difficult course with numerous African athletes and went through the half way mark in 11th place in an eye catching 79 mins 31 secs.  

Laura's pace slackened a little in the second half, but she still managed to finish strongly with an average mile time of 6 mins 11 secs. This was an improvement from her 3rd Irish finisher place a year ago and was some 3 mins ahead of former Irish Olympian Catriona Jennings who was 11th in 2 hrs 45 mins. 

Graham is now firmly in the frame for consideration for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The race was won by Namibia's Helelia Johannes in 2.32.31, while victory in the Men's event went to Ethiopia's Derete Tulu in 2.12.18.


In other news:

Comber Cup

Mark McKinstry and Jessica Craig successfully retained their titles in the weekend's well supported Cross Country League races at Comber.

Laganside 10k winner McKinstry of North Belfast was always the favourite over the tough 8k race. He and Newcastle's Seamus Lynch vied for the lead for much of the race, however Mark broke away in the last lap for an 8 secs winning margin in 26 mins 26 secs. Newcastle's David O'Flaherty was a distant 3rd in 27.24 followed by Beechmount's Christy Conlon (27.43). 

In the Ladies 6k event North Down's Jessica Craig made it clear from the gun that she was focused on yet another victory. She soon opened a sizeable gap on team mate Rachel Gibson which, was retained to the finish. Jessica recorded a time of 23.15 which was 22 secs ahead of Gibson. Newcomer Amy Bulman of Willowfield took 3rd in 23.55. North Down's Jodi Smith's 4th place in 24.16 ensured an easy team victory for the Bangor club.