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Belfast City Marathon: Northern Ireland's Laura Graham in dreamworld after win

Organisers considering change to route for next year

By Jonny Bell

Northern Ireland's Laura Graham said she was in a dreamworld after winning the Belfast City Marathon women's race

Kilkeel runner Graham was the first woman to cross the line at the 2:41:45 mark. The 31-year-old said she was in a dream world with her win. "I've yet to wake up," she said. Laura is the first Northern Ireland woman in 18 years to win. Barbara Brewer was the last in 1999.  Mother-of-four Graham completed her run just a week after taking part in the London Marathon.

Meanwhile, Kenyan Bernard Rotich won the overall race. The athlete crossed the line on the 2:16:02 over a minute ahead of last year's time. Third was Hillary Chirchir while Emanuel Kiprotich Melly came second. Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston completed the course in three hours and 32 minutes. He opened the event, then ran it and said there were great crowds along the route.

David Seaton, director of the marathon said the event had come a long way since its first in 1982. He said talks were underway to introduce a new route that will begin at city hall and end at Stormont. Currently the finish line is in Ormeau Park but a new route could be in place for next year.

How the day unfolded

He said it was difficult to include a route that got all aspects of the city involved but as everyone was not interested in the marathon they could not "tie up large sections of the city" throughout the day.

"We are in the process of finding a new route, which the police will allow us to do - they have greater experience than we have," he told the BBC.

"A new route from City Hall to Stormont is currently being plotted."

It kicked off at 9am and throughout the day there will be a host of road closures to facilitate the runners.

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