Marathon challenge for Craigavon couple

Nikki and Brian Graham completed their first marathon in the Belfast City Marathon.
Nikki and Brian Graham completed their first marathon in the Belfast City Marathon.

A Craigavon couple has raised over £1,000 for charity after taking part in this year’s Belfast City Marathon.

Nikki and Brian Graham are no strangers to running but their marathon debut saw them spurred on to raise money for Tearfund.

After running four half-marathons around the UK last year for her 40th birthday, raising £2,500 for Tearfund, Nikki decided to attempt her first full marathon along with Brian.

Nikki has been the church rep for Tearfund at her church, Craigavon Presbyterian, for a number of years.

“I’ve supported Tearfund for a long time; I guess I just feel very strongly about injustice,” Nikki said.

She added: “We are so blessed and have more materially than we can ever need, yet on the same planet there are people who have nowhere to live, nothing to eat, only dirty water available to drink, and generally no obvious hope in their lives.

“I’ll take the sore feet, early mornings, worn trainers, chaffing, achy muscles, and reluctance to ask people for money to try and help people where the need is greatest.

“What I particularly admire about Tearfund is that it doesn’t use quick fixes. I think it’s great that they try to empower people and help them to thrive rather than just survive.”

As a busy mum of two, training was Nikki’s biggest challenge, and despite her success last year running half-marathons in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, on the marathon itself, she was feeling anxious ahead of Sunday’s event.

Despite her fears, Nikki completed the marathon in an impressive four hours and six minutes and said she “enjoyed it, in a warped sort of way”.

Brian said he “found out the hard way that he’s better built for middle distance runs”.

The PE teacher has prolonged his pain by taking a sponsored ice bath at his school, Clounagh Junior

High School, for six minutes and 30 seconds, in which he will sit in for one second per £1 donation.Brian and Nikki have surpassed their fundraising target of £1,000, which will be doubled by the UK Government in Tearfund’s Matched Giving Appeal.

The funding will be used by Tearfund’s partners around the world to set up innovative waste recycling hubs.

Not only will these hubs help tackle waste and plastic pollution, they will provide sustainable livelihoods and improve the living conditions in some of the world’s poorest communities.