Lurgan mum Gillian goes the distance for local charities

Gillian's extensive collection of running medals.
Gillian's extensive collection of running medals.
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Gillian Abraham has just run her ninth marathon - in just over a year.

Gillian, who hails from Mourneview, Lurgan, completed a Gosford Forest Park marathon on Saturday, having run her first marathon just last May.

Team GASP: Gillian Abraham, Alan brown, Sonia Morgan and Paul McCorry.

Team GASP: Gillian Abraham, Alan brown, Sonia Morgan and Paul McCorry.

“I started with the Belfast marathon last year,” 
Gillian explained.

“I had my third child and decided to start going to the gym. I thought to myself, “I can’t run!” but, after talking to friends about it, I decided to give it a go.”

Despite never having tried running before, Gillian found the transition extremely easy - and soon realised she’d caught the bug.

“My first official run was the Race for Life in 2013,” 
she said.

Gillian pictured with Team NI from the Miss European competition: Jofa Collins, Ellise Annett and Natalie Watters.

Gillian pictured with Team NI from the Miss European competition: Jofa Collins, Ellise Annett and Natalie Watters.

“It was only 5k but I trained like mad for it and then got hooked! I did the Belfast half marathon after that and as soon as I did it, I thought: “Is there any more?””

Gillian, a professional photographer, has been fundraising for various charities through her newly found passion, and has a personal link to several of them:

“After my Dad passed away, I decided to raise money for Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke. Paul, one of the friends I run with, recently told me that he had kidney failure - and his sister had a kidney transplant last year. There are four of us who run together, so we have all decided to do all our races this year for NI Kidney Research Fund - whether it’s a full, half 
marathon or 10k.”

Gillian has three little girls, aged 9, 4 and 2, and has been doing a lot of photography work with Team NI ahead of the Miss European competition, whose charity this year is the Make a Wish foundation. As a result, she ran several races this year to raise money for the charity.

Gillian pictured after running her ninth marathon.

Gillian pictured after running her ninth marathon.

“I do a lot of work for the Northern Ireland team for Miss European - and even got them along to start a few races with me. I’ve made so many friends by taking this up; runners are realy supportive, and my family have been equally so.”
Gillian has raised almost £2,000 for her chosen charities so far and, with countless more races planned for the remainder of 2015, that total is set to increase.

“There’s a Donegal marathon in August,” Gillian shared. “Then Paul and I are planning on running the Causeway Ultra in September - it’s forty miles long!”

All in all, Gillian has now run nine marathons, six half marathons and 22 10k races since last May.

She is certainly to be admired for going to such lengths, having only taken up running two years ago. To read more about the charities or donate, you can visit www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/teamgasp