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Bronze for Moira’s “silver” marathon run

Written by Fiona May 27 2009

Once upon a time there was a young woman who decided to run her first marathon, the Belfast City Marathon. Aged in her early 20s, wearing regulation 1980s cotton shorts and t-shirts and equipped with nothing more technical than a bottle of plain water, Moira pulled off a fabulous first effort coming home in 3hrs 37mins.

Twenty five years later, and having never run another 26.2 miler, Moira (known to me as one of the 3 Super-Ms) decided she would give the Belfast City Marathon another shot. “Oh, I just want to see if I can still make it round the course,” she told me on one of our early morning runs around Bearsden. “I’m obviously much older but I would like to give this marathon one last go.”

And so Moira embarked on an almost perfect training schedule, totting up the miles and only finding herself briefly hampered by a sore hamstring. Each time I met her on an early morning outing (and I confess I did not attend as many of these twice weekly runs as I should over the winter) Moira would give me her latest report. “Yes, up to 16 miles this week,” she said. “Now 18 miles,” she told me a week or so later. Moira was so dedicated that put in two 22-miler sessions, which I count as an awesome achievement.

Mora also praised some of her running chums (me excluded) who accompanied her during many of her longer training runs.

And then the big weekend arrived on May 4. “If I get under four hours I’ll be delighted,” she reported a fortnight before the 2009 Belfast City Marathon. I knew she would go well under 3.45. In the event, she crossed the finish line in an awesome 3.36. If you’ve been paying attention, this time is a full one minute faster than her first Belfast marathon 25 years ago.

Moira, now running in the veteran ladies 45 to 49 age group, was also delighted to receive a third place prize in her category and a cheque for £75.

Moira’s amazing run just goes to prove that us “more mature” ladies still have some great runs left in our legs. And it should surely encourage more people to go out and prove to themselves that they can be as fit, or fitter, than they were in their 20s.

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