DUP Lord Mayor finishes marathon in impressive time

Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston, 51, was among those who completed the Belfast Marathon course on Sunday.

Lord Mayor of Belfast with Dame Mary Peters, Olympic pentathalon gold medal-winner
Lord Mayor of Belfast with Dame Mary Peters, Olympic pentathalon gold medal-winner

He officially opened the event, then ran it – and finished in three hours and 32 minutes.

Mayor Kingston’s impressive time was just two minutes short of his hoped for target of three hours 30 minutes needed to qualify for the Boston marathon.

Completing his fourth marathon, the councillor had an interesting back story.

Laura Graham, literally one second after finishing

At 51-years-old, the DUP councillor only took up running two years ago – and trained for the latest race normally only two days a week since December.

“I previously played amateur football but when I noticed I was starting to put weight on a few years ago I decided to take up running,” he said.

Several members of his club advised him that training twice a week was not enough, however his diary as lord mayor has been so busy he has had little alternative, he said.

More than 15,000 runners took to the streets of Belfast in glorious sunshine for the annual marathon – FOR PICTURES OF THE EVENT, CLICK HERE.

Laura Graham, literally one second after finishing

Bernard Rotich won the men’s race in 2:16:04, beating Kenyan compatriots Daniel Tanui and Emmanuel Kiprotich.

Laura Graham became the first Northern Ireland athlete to win the Belfast Marathon since 1999.

FOR THE FULL TOP 50 FINISHERS, SEE THIS LINK.The 31-year-old set a new personal best of two hours 41 minutes 47 seconds as she won the women’s race just eight days after running the London Marathon.

The mother-of-four from Kilkeel told BBC Radio Ulster: “It doesn’t feel real.”

The 36th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon began at 9am outside the city hall.

It finished a gruelling 26.2 miles later in Ormeau Park, encompassing north, south, east and west along a relatively flat route.

Relay teams, wheelchair users and fun runners also took part.

The weather was warm for running and water stations were busy.

Club vests bore the names of towns all over Northern Ireland and beyond.

A group of 30 Smurfs took part.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Mairtin O Muilleoir, a keen athlete, ran some legs and Alliance’s Chris Lyttle took part.

Teams from Mencap, the official race charity, and PIPs suicide prevention made their way around the course.

The Ulster University was also represented.

A total of 2,640 people ran the full marathon, with 9,250 completing the relay event. A further 830 took part in the walk and 1,000 in the fun run – both began at city hall and ended at Ormeau Park.