Runners go extra mile after Pope's inauguration

Published: 1 Apr 2013 13:00

GREENOCK runners ended up going the extra mile in an epic Roman marathon - after the inauguration of the new Pope closed the route.

ROMAN WARRIORS: From left are Dorothy, Fiona, Yvonne, Irene and Heather. Susie was not available for the picture.

ROMAN WARRIORS: From left are Dorothy, Fiona, Yvonne, Irene and Heather. Susie was not available for the picture.

The ladies from Glenpark Harriers ended up having to run longer than the regulation 26.2 miles as the appointment of Pope Francis saw the course suddenly altered.

Streets around the Vatican City and St Peter's Square were closed because of the ceremony - meaning the girls had to endure almost another mile of running.

The squad was made up of Yvonne Prager, Fiona Cushnaghan, Dorothy McCormick, Susie Gillies, Heather Kangley and fellow Glenparker Irene McDade, who couldn't take part because of an injured leg.

Yvonne said: "The aim was to run the marathon but to have a lot of fun along the way - and we certainly did.

"A combination of the Six Nations rugby, the announcement of the new Pope, St Patrick's Day and, of course, the marathon, made Rome an exciting place that weekend.

"We visited the expo on the Friday afternoon, followed by a whirlwind sightseeing tour including Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and to check out the start/finish at the Colosseum on the Saturday - and we were ready for the big event on Sunday.

"But we ended up running almost an extra mile due to the route being changed because of the Pope's inauguration. At one point the organisers said the marathon might not start until 4pm, but fortunately it was at 9.30am as originally planned - I can't imagine running around Rome in the dark."

Yvonne added: "We all enjoyed the sights and sounds of an amazing city. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the many thousands of cobblestones we ran over. As Dorothy said, they were brutal.

"But the weather conditions were ideal and the threat of rain soon disappeared.

"We couldn't have done it without the support and encouragement of the injured Irene, who managed to catch us at several points along the route.

"There were some fantastic times of just over four hours on a very challenging course. Especially well done to Heather on her first marathon, and for raising funds for Yorkhill Sick Children's Hospital."

Anyone who would like to donate to Heather's fundraising can contact her by emailing

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