LIFFORD Athletics Club runner Claire McGuigan has spoken of her delight after sprinting to third place in the women’s section of the Walled City Marathon in Derry on Sunday.
In her first ever marathon, the 31-year-old beat off competition from hundreds of other athletes to cross the line in a time of 3hrs 11mins 10 secs.
The women’s event was won by Donore’s Ann Curley in a time of 2:57.50 with City of Derry’s Marina Campbell holding on for second in 3:08.17.
Claire said she over the moon with Sunday’s result and revealed that she finished a full four minutes ahead of the 3hrs 15mins time she had set herself.
“I was hoping for 3hrs 15mins so I was delighted when I beat that.
“I was a bag of nerves before the race and it took me about five miles to get into it. But after that there was no looking back.
“If I was to do another one I would probably go a bit harder because I think I was a bit over cautious in the early stages. But it was my first marathon so I’m absolutely delighted,” she said.
While Claire has been running for the past seven years, she only took up competitive racing two years when she joined the ranks of Lifford AC, a decision she says has transformed her running career.
Her success on Sunday backs up the third place she secured in the Derry Half Marathon in September last.
The runner said she never had any aspirations of winning Sunday’s marathon and was only ever eyeing her self-set time of 3hrs 15mins.
“I just went out with my own goal in mind. As the race approached I was wondering to myself if I was being a bit too ambitious but I never thought about anything other than my own time.”
Claire said she that while she would consider doing another marathon, the likelihood was that she would stick to her preferred distance of ten miles of half marathon. The Derry Half in September is a distinct possibility she said.
“I’m so glad I did it. I had always wanted to do a marathon and I was going to do Dublin last year but my iron dropped really low and I had to pull out.
“Passing the finish line on Sunday was amazing and I don’t think I’ll ever experience anything like it again,” she added.