Messages of congratulations pour in for Northumberland runner Laura Weightman

Northumberland reacts to home-grown star Laura Weightman after she brought home Commonwealth silver medal in the 1500m


Athlete Laura Weightman has become the toast of Northumberland after her silver medal-winning performance in the Commonwealth Games 1,500m final.

Messages of congratulations have poured in for the 23-year-old, from Lesbury, near Alnwick, who had the nation on the edge of their seats during Tuesday’s night’s race.

Laura, of Morpeth Harriers, dug deep on the home straight to kick past Kenyan Hellen Onsando Obiri – the pre-race favourite – to move into second spot and cross the line in 4:09.24.

And there was no one more proud than Laura’s mum, Diana Weightman. Diana, 51, was in the crowd to see her daughter run the race of her life.

After crossing the finish line, a deliriously happy Laura spotted her mum among the 40,000 spectators in Hampden Park and the pair shared an emotional embrace seen by millions on TV.

Diana said today: “It was all just so unbelievable. I just went through every emotion you could go through.

“I could just tell she wasn’t going to give up that silver medal for anyone, she fought do hard.

“The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible and everyone has been so kind.

“Laura was always a very active child and at about 11 years old she decided she would concentrate on her running.

“She has sacrificed a lot and you have to be so committed, and we now believe things can only get better for her.”

Those who have known Laura, a former student at Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School, since she was an aspiring child runner with big dreams, also spoke of their delight at the performance.

George Patterson, 64, of Morpeth Harriers said: “Laura first came to us when she was just 11 years old.

“She was spotted in a sports hall competition in Morpeth and a few days later she joined the Harriers.

“I remember her first event was a cross-country race in Darlington where she was wearing the number 13.”

The number did not turn out to be unlucky for the schoolgirl who left the competition standing.

George added: “That night the phone was ringing off the hook asking who this girl was. She’d ran away with the race and everyone wanted to know about her.”

George watched Laura’s run on Tuesday. He said: “It’s fair to say I was pretty much on the edge of my seat.

“We don’t see her as often as we used to because, of course, she is a very athlete now. But we are delighted for her.”

Joe Robson, owner of the Coach Inn in Lesbury where Laura worked in the kitchen for three years before going to university - and where her brother, Adam, 17, has a part-time job - said the race was on in the pub on Tuesday.

He added: “It was fantastic, we were all cheering for her. Everyone was of the same opinion - she really dug deep to deserve that medal.

“It’s great for the area to have a someone like Laura achieving her dreams.”

Jim Alder, president of Morpeth Harriers, was also impressed by the 23-year-old’s performance. He said: “She was superb and ran an amazing race. It was a mature and well judged performance. Steve Cram has done a wonderful job.

“I would say she is in with a shot for a medal at the European Championships in Zurich.”


David Whetstone
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Mark Douglas
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