LOCAL WOMAN Karen Lavelle was the first female runner in the Dublin New York City Marathon in the Phoenix Park on Sunday.
The race was organised for athletes who had trained and raised money for the New York marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 4, but was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.
Karen who is originally from from Dundalk, runs with Meath-based Star of the Sea Athletics Club, and was running the marathon to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society. ' My mother, Jennifer Cass Lavelle, died of cancer 10 years ago,' she said.
This was her first marathon and she was one of around 200 Irish runners who had travelled to New York to take place in the city's famous marathon.
'We were assured by the New York Road Runners that the marathon was going ahead and Mayor Bloomberg also said it would take place, so we went out on the Friday and were actually at the Convention Centre picking up our numbers when the news came through that it was cancelled,' said Karen. 'I just don't think they realised the devastation which the hurricane caused. Had we known it would be cancelled we wouldn't have gone over but calling it off was definitely the right thing to do.'
Karen was delighted when the Dublin City Marathon came up with the idea of hosting a marathon for all the Irish runners who had planned to take part in New York event.
'A lot of people like myself were running for charity and wanted to fulfil their obligations to those who had sponsored them.'
Karen completed the course through the Phoenix Park in 3 hours, 9 minutes and 27 seconds.
'I really enjoyed it. It was a flat course which made it easier, not easy, and it was a very friendly event, with great camaraderie among the runners.'
Having worked as a fashion designer in the United States for many years, Karen now lives with her husband Ralph Skinner and their children Jenna, Rían and Sam. She has recently launched her own business, making scented candles. 'I want to build an Irish brand and the 'Soilse' candles are inspired by different places of scenic beauty in Ireland,' she said.