Runher October 2013: Dame Mary joins in with golden girls

Olympic winner praises another successful event, writes Maria Marsella

Jesica Craig leads the women off at the start of the 5k race
Jesica Craig leads the women off at the start of the 5k race
Naomi Stewart finishes the 5k race
Jacqui Craig finishes the 5k race
Rowandale Integrated Primary School
Runher - the runners warm up
Runher - the runners warm up
Fitness Freddie gets the runners warmed up
Fitness Freddie gets the runners warmed up
Shelly Regan in the 10k race
Patricia McNally in the 10k race
Lisa McClean (1350) and Eileen Maxwell in the 10k race
Coleen Ringland in the 10k race
Louise Kelly (1267) and Sarah Jane Crowther in the 10k race
Marian Hayes in the 10k race
Stacey McGerty in the 10k race
Nicola Crawford in the 10k race
Debbie McVeigh in the 10k race
Siobhan Drain in the 10k race
Angela Taylor in the 10k race
Roisin Byrne in the 10k race
Kate Hanratty in the 10k race
Tiffany Brien, former miss Northern Ireland, in the 10k race
Lyndsay Pronger
Hannah Oldroyd leads in the 10k race
Tiffany Brien in the 10k race
Julie Balmer in the 10k race
Cathy McCourt in the 10k race
Hannah Oldroyd leads Cathy McCourt in the 10k race
Former miss Northern Ireland Tiffany Brien (1003) and Cathy McCourt (1001) lead the women away at the start of the 10k race
Jesica Craig (2) leads the women off at the start of the 5k race
Rachael Gibson
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Kelly Neilly eventual winner of the 5k race
Ali Robinson, Catroina McCorkle, Carla Boyer and Jenny McCready
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Ladies warm up for the race
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
The start of the 5k race
Team for Many Hopes charity
Isobel Martin, Daniel Magee, Isacc Martin, Eva Mc Cann and Hariett Armstrong
Robin Bell, Janice Boe, Leanne McNeill and Carol Alexander
Anne Louise Brennan, Judith Malon and Orla Barrett of St Joseph College, Coalisland on behalf of cancer patient Jarlath Nicholl
St Joseph College, Coalisland on behalf of cancer patient Jarlath Nicholl
Nicola McDole and Fiona Dickson
Julia Webster, Emma Miskimmon, Paula Simpson, and Catherine Feguson all North Down Physio
Shola Gilpin, Eleanor Ross and Zoe Sherman
Samantha Convery and Anne O'Doherty
Warm up session
Warm up session
Warm up session
Warm up session
Dame Mary Peters starts the 5k
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Warm up session
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Apex Clinic - Niclola O'Brien of Apex massages Chloe Crossey
Runners finish the 5k race
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Start of the 10k race
Alex McCarrison, Dawn Porter, Lynn Porter, Shirley Porter
Chloe Corcoran and her dog Lady from Armagh
Tiffany Brien
Roisin Lavery
5k winner Kelly Neely from Lisburn
Ballymena Runners
Belfast Telegraph team
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Heather Baird from Holywood and Ruth Kennedy from Waringstown
Christine McMahon from Glengormley
Tiffany Brien
Gemma Kennedy, Wendy Graham, Andrea Wylie from Ballymena
Laura Livingstone from Dromore and Lynn Kerr
Trudy Matchett and Joanne Upritchard
Joes Jog for Jarly team from St Josephs College Coalisland
East Coast Athletics Club
Many Hope Charity Runners
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate Claire Magill, Louise McManus, Ciara McClenaghan, Orla McDonald from Newry
Jean Gilmore and Eleanor Patchett from Antrim
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate Barbara Carson, Tom Carson and Julie Rouslton
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate. Start of the Children's Race.; Joshua Dougherty and Alexander Jess
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate. Start of the Children's Race. Joshua Dougherty
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate Alexander Jess from Castledawson with the Runher Mascot
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate Start of the Children's Race
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate. Start of the Children's Race
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate. Start of the Children's Race
10k winners Cathy McCourt, Hannah Oldroid and Julie Balmer.
Belfast Telegraph Runher Event at Stormont Estate in east Belfast. The 5k race starts.
Hannah Su, Louise Kelly and Fiona Devlin from Sperrin Harriers from Mid Ulster
Jessica Hazle and son Hugo from Crawfordsburn
Belfast Telegraph Runher Event at Stormont Estate in east Belfast. The 5k race starts. Libby Young centre.
Belfast Telegraph Runher Event at Stormont Estate in east Belfast. The 5k race starts. Jessica Craig.
Belfast Telegraph Runher Event At Stormont Estate The 10k race gets under way
Susan Crawford and Elaine McElhill from Portglenone
Nicolle Smyth
(L-R) Jordan, Yana and Paula Ford
Mum and Dad Kevin and Sinead Cooney get their children Shauna, Orla and Phelim ready to run in the kids race
SOS Bus - SOS staff (L-R) Emily Paisley and Nicola McCullough
Kelly Courtney from Ballymena
Taylor and Carla Braniff from Dunmurry
Belfast Telegraph Runher Stormont Series at Stormont Estate
Gillian Kelly and Barbara Irwin from Banbridge
Michelle and Emma McNamee from Carrick
Cathy Hopkins from Crumlin and Finn Garrett-Kane
Karen Hanson, Denise Brice and Kathryn Brice from Carrick
Nicola McCullough from Crossgar and Emily Paisley from Hillsborough
(L-R ) Rachael Bryson and Ruben Hargy
(L-R Back) Mia Ashbridge Gracy Ashbridge, Benjamin Bryson, Isac Hargy (L-R Front) Rachael Bryson, Ruben Hargy and Reece Hargy
Mum Kelly gets Ruben Hargy ready to run in the kids race
Mum Jo gets Rachael Bryson ready to run in the kids race
Cool FM's (L-R) Natalie Cole, Sonia Mac, presenter and Katie Roberts
Cool FM - Cool FM's Natalie Cole (left) and Katie Roberts (right) with Mary Francsl McGuckin and Patricia Toner
Special Olympics - (L-R) Rebecca Ross, Nicolle Smith, and Beth McKinty
Wather Within - (L-R) Amelia, Archie and Hugo (front) Hazel
SOS Bus - Staff of the SOS Bus at the Runher race
Water Within - Ali Robinson with her sons Max (centre) and George
Ali Robinson, Catroina McCorkle and Carla Boyer wearing Adidas clothing and shoes
(L-R) Jenny Mc Cready, Ali Robinson, Catriona McKorkle, Brian Hamilton and Michael Jenkins - Pure Running

Olympic golden girl Dame Mary Peters swapped the running track for the steps of Stormont as she took part in the Belfast Telegraph Runher race.

A warm autumn sun shone on the 1,400 runners as they gathered at the Parliament Buildings' start line.

The sunny weather matched the mood on the ground, as around 1,200 women and 200 children pulled on their running shoes for the Dash for Kids, 5k and 10k runs.

Some women ran for themselves, to keep fit and to have fun, running in teams or with friends.

Others ran for charities or for someone close to their heart.

Whatever their reason, competitors of every shape, size and ability gave it their all.

Despite her experience, the track wasn't what the winner of the 5k run, Kelly Neely (35), was used to.

"My background is track running so I'm not used to steep hills," she said.

"That is the first time I've ever done a Runher event. It's strange it all being women. There's less of a competitive feel about it, but it's a great event."

Northern Ireland sporting icon Dame Mary was present – but not just for appearance's sake.

"I take part every year and it's a tough course – it's a challenge," the 1972 Olympic pentathalon gold medal winner said.

"I admire the organisers and what they do for the women. It's about camaraderie and health and it's a big achievement for some ladies.

"All the men around the course were giving us great support and for them to give up their Sunday was great to see."

In second place was Rachel Gibson (22).

"It was brilliant; a well organised event and I would recommend anyone to take part," she said.

Jessica Craig (23) came in third in the 5k, despite recent illness.

"It was tough as I'm recovering from a throat infection but it's a great day for it," she said.

Michael Jenkins from Pure Running was delighted about how this year's events were received.

"Since August 2007 we have had two events a year and together about 2,500 have taken part. Today we are looking at about 1,200 women taking part and about 200 children. It has been fantastic," he said.

"Weather was the main worry but everyone is really enjoying the sun. As an organiser you get this nervous anticipation and you want everyone to get round safely."

 

Over 1,200 turn out to enjoy a run in the autumn sun

It was all sun and smiles for the second Belfast Telegraph Runher event this year.

Following the success of the Runher coastal run, the autumnal event didn't disappoint.

Although browning leaves fell from the trees around Stormont estate, the clear sky and sun made it feel like a summer day.

And the weather was unseasonably warm as 1,200 women and 200 children battled the course during their races.

Those taking part in the Dash for Kids were up first. The klaxon began the first race as hundreds of painted faces, thanks to the SOS bus team, sprinted from the starting line.

The kids' race was closely followed by the exclusively female 5k and 10k races, with hardened runners at the front, followed by those who chose to walk or jog their way around the course.

Andrea Chambers ran for her father who was diagnosed with lung cancer last year.

"I'm here to raise awareness because lung cancer is one of the lowest funded out of the cancers," she explained.

"This is my first Runher and the atmosphere is brilliant."

Now in it's seventh year, the Belfast Telegraph Runher event is proving to be an unmissable event for runners. There was a carnival-like atmosphere on the hill at Stormont yesterday, and the picturesque views of Belfast, cloud-splitting sun and family fun topped off an event well worth attending. A few famous faces were also in attendance; Cecilia Daly from the BBC and Dame Mary Peters took the time to join in.

It wasn't just athletics clubs which took part either. New mums from Buggy Babies, based in Antrim, took to the course.

Susan Crawford (40) gave birth just six months ago.

"We're taking part as an exercise challenge," she said.

"I have been in Buggy Babies for the last few months and it's good exercise for people who have just had children.

"We're running for ourselves and close friends who have had breast cancer."

Elaine McElhill (38) spoke highly of trainers Michelle Raphael and Elaine Williams.

"This run was something I wanted to take part in and see if I can run the 10k. We got to know about the Runher race through Buggy Babies who are such a feel-good team," she said.

Competitors were given goodie bags after completing the gruelling run. They included treats like Apex Physiotherapy vouchers, T-shirts, sugar free chocolate and cranberry juice as well as other run-related items. Race winners were awarded special prizes including a stay at a Premier Inn, and physiotherapy sessions and sports massages, which will be provided by Apex.

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