FRIENDS of Olympian Laura Weightman last night revealed their pride after the athlete took part in the 1,500m final.
The 21-year-old, originally from Lesbury, near Alnwick, and a member of the Morpeth Harriers running club, finished in 11th place in the race at London’s Olympic stadium.
It was no disgrace to Laura, who finished in 4:15.60, and she vowed it was just the beginning.
She said: “It was a messy race. I gave it my all, but I didn’t have the pace to stay with it. I’ve got nothing to complain about.
“I am bit battered and bruised, but I loved it out there.
“This is just the beginning for me and there is more to come from me in the future.”
Last night George Patterson, press officer at the Harriers, said the race was a great experience for Laura.
He said: “Tactically it didn’t work for either of the English girls. I think Laura got caught out for pace in the final bit.
“It’s an experience for Laura and it’s great that she got this far. She can learn a lot from running this race. It’s absolutely terrific that someone from the region was there.
“She was up against top class girls and it was great to watch.”
John Packard, landlord at the Coach Inn in Lesbury where the “very popular” Laura worked in the kitchen for three years before going to university, said the whole pub was on their feet shouting and cheering for her.
He said: “I don’t think Laura expected to finish in the top three, but the experience that she has gained in the last couple of weeks is going to stand her in good stead in the future.
“Everyone here was shouting for her. Everyone is so proud of her for getting that far and is was great to watch her.”
Laura, a former student at Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School, began running aged 11 when she joined the Harriers. She is now a sports science student at Leeds University, having just completed her second year.
Coached by North East Olympic silver medal winner in the 1,500m Steve Cram for three years, Laura ran in last night’s final having come through Monday’s heats and Wednesday’s semi-final, events watched live by her proud parents, three brothers and one sister.
In the semi-final she finished seventh and her personal best time was quick enough to see her qualify as a fastest loser.
One of Team GB’s youngest track and field athletes was cheered on in the stadium last night by parents Diana and Brian Weightman, who live at Lesbury and run a plumbing and building business.