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Dundrum delight for in-form Graham

 

By Brian Hill

Ireland's top marathon racer Laura Graham notched up another easy win at the weekend's GR8 Dundrum Run organised by Murlough AC.

This unusual eight-mile event - which encompasses terrain over road, trail, boards and sand - has enjoyed spectacular success in its short history as demonstrated by a finishing total of some 900 runners.

Graham, from the local Mourne Runners club, provided further evidence of her spectacular form. The 31-year-old's usual aggressive tactics meant she very quickly had only the top male runners for company.

Laura showed little sign of tiredness from her previous week's eye catching win in the Armagh 10 miles, where she recorded a leading Irish time of 57mins 18secs over a difficult course which sliced some 93 seconds off her previous best.

In the Dundrum race, Graham proved her versatility by covering the different ground surfaces with ease. She crossed the finish line in another record breaking time of 48mins 51secs for an impressive sixth overall.

Masters champion Cathy McCourt was over four minutes back in 53.04 followed by 2016 winner Amanda Perry (54.06), who was closely followed by Newcastle's Sinead Murtagh (54.11) and Karen Wilton (54.13).

Belfast Marathon winner Graham clearly thrives on competition and considers frequent racing the best preparation for the defence of her Irish Marathon title - which she last year earned with in an unexpected victory - in Dublin later this month.

In the Men's race in Dundrum, Scottish runner Jonathan Roebuck of MRF Running was to the fore from the start and never relinquished his lead, crossing the line for an easy one minute victory in 46.58.

North Belfast's Kent Swann took second in 47.52 ahead of Mourne's Tim Johnston (48.21), The Dub's James Trainor (48.37) and David Turtle of East Antrim (48.44), who was just seven seconds ahead of Graham.

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