Laura Graham smashes half marathon personal best at London’s ‘Big Half’…

The Big (London) Half Marathon 2018:

Northern Ireland international Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) slashed almost two minutes off her 13.1 mile personal best with a 1:15:15 finish at the inaugural running of the Big Half in London, England (Sunday 4th March 2018).

The Mourne Runners star was due to race at the Bath Half Marathon today, in the hope of sealing a place on Ireland’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships team.  However, the race was postponed on Friday because of adverse weather conditions – but officials managed to get Laura a place in the Big Half, organised by the London Marathon team – and the AAI National Marathon Champion diverted to London.

These efforts payed off when Laura claimed 12th place in a stacked field, whilst recording an outstanding personal best (1:15:15), bettering her previous best of 1:16:59.  Despite being sixteen seconds short of the 1:14:59 qualification standard for the IAAF World Championships, which take place in Valencia (Spain) later this month, the mother of four was understandably delighted with the personal best performance, saying “I surprised myself today – I wasn’t sure I had that but I trusted in my training and our race plan – it worked.  I’m happy! Of course I would love to have dipped into the 1:14’s but that will come in time.  I know it’s there now.”

Willowfield Harriers athlete Amy Bulman claimed a top fifty spot in the ladies event, running 1:25:46 for 41st place.

In the men’s race, there was also Northern Ireland representation at the competitive end of the field, with Acorns AC’s Francis McDaid running 1:16:11 as he prepares for the upcoming London Marathon in April.

Approximately 12,000 competitors took to the streets of London for the prestigious event, with Mo Farah winning men’s race in 1:01:40 (1st place) and Charlotte Purdue taking the ladies title in 1:10:29 (1st place).

Full results for the event are available HERE.