Lady’s day as Portuguese runner seals historic win in capital race

A WOMAN runner has beaten thousands of men to win the Edinburgh half marathon.

Leonor Carniero, 33, from Portugal, finished the race in one hour 16 minutes and five seconds.

While her winning time was adrift of the current women’s half marathon world record of one hour, five minutes and 50 seconds – set by Mary Keitany of Kenya in 2011 – Ms Carniero crossed the finish line nine seconds ahead of the first man in the race yesterday, 29-year-old Jan Pichil from the Czech Republic.

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More than 5,000 runners from 30 countries took part in the UK’s first-ever Rock ’n’ Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon.

Race organisers Competitor Group said it was “fantastic and very rare” for a female to be the overall winner. Event marketing manager Shannon Davis said: “None of us can remember a woman ever winning a Rock ’n’ Roll series event, and some people here have been working with the series for 20 years. It’s really rare.”

Organisers, who watched Ms Carniero cross the finish line, added: “She was over the moon to have won. Really delighted. She is a seasoned runner and is part of a running club in Lisbon.”

Yesterday’s music-themed 13.1-mile race featured bands performing at each mile point along the route.

The musical entertainment included up-and-coming bands including Hitchcock Blonde, Millsyeck, The Detours, Red 2 Red, Japan Four, Cow Cow Boogie, Jacky Forty Feet, The Deadly Winters, Robbie Reay and The Killer Cats, The Asps, hip-hop act Stanley Odd and indie band Dolalay.

Runners travelled from as far as the USA, Australia, Brazil, Finland, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore and South Africa to be part of the event. The race series was founded in San Diego in 1998 and is now the world’s largest running series. The idea behind the race is to mix music with running and every year it attracts more than 450,000 runners.

The Edinburgh event replaced the ADT Edinburgh Half Marathon and started and finished in Holyrood Park. Event marketing manager Ms Davis added: “Over 5,000 runners have travelled from around the world to be part of this exciting UK first and we hope that everyone has had a fantastic day rocking through the capital to the sounds of the nation’s hottest bands.

“We have had a great reception here in Edinburgh and this has been one of our most exciting and energetic races to date – we’re already looking forward to returning in 2013.”

Councillor Steve Cardownie, who fired the starting gun, said: “Edinburgh hosts many events throughout the year, but nothing like this. This event is absolutely fantastic and I hope it returns to the city for many years to come.”

The Rock ’n’ Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon also supported a number of charities including Action Duchenne, Alzheimer Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, When You Wish Upon A Star, Stuart Andrew Lawtie Memorial Fund, the Gail Wilson Memorial Trust, the Anthony Mundell Memorial Fund, and The Stroke Association.

Not everyone enjoyed the same success as Ms Carniero, however. One of the competitors, Evelyn Weir, wrote on Facebook: “I was last. Still got my medal at the finish, but the timing people had given up! Really enjoyed it, and hope to do it again next year – but faster!”