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Grim up North, but we did it! CITY CENTRE: Brum trio proud of big race perfomance.

Byline: By Poppy Brady

A BIRMINGHAM couple overcame bruises and blisters in the name of charity as they clocked up the cash at the Great North Run.

Nurse Carly O'Connor and her boyfriend Matt McLoughlin, a chartered accountant, finished the arduous 13-mile course in aid of the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development.

The pair and Carly's 26- year-old brother, Neil, took part alongside 50,000 runners, who included a 200- strong team from Cafod.

First-time runner Carly, a nurse who lives in the city centre, completed the run in two hours and 50 minutes.

"It was hard towards the end but there are people cheering you along and handing out ice pops, and the crowd really pushes you forward," she said.

"I'm not really a runner but I wanted a challenge and something to motivate me to train, so this seemed like a great opportunity."

Matt, aged 24 and also a newcomer to running events, said: "It was a brilliant race but really tough.

"The people were the best thing about it. There was a lot of camaraderie and everyone supported each other.

"It was such a friendly atmosphere.

"I felt like all I did was run uphill. It was like climbing Everest."

Carly and Matt are both committed supporters of the Catrholic aid agency.

Carly said: "My sister has spent a lot of time in Malawi teaching English and supporting community projects.

Seeing her photos really motivated me to train."

Carly and Matt were in good company during the run.

England football manager Steve McClaren and Countdown's Carol Vorderman were among those who also took part.

CAPTION(S):

MAJOR STEP... charity runners Carly, Neil and Matt.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 8, 2007
Words:277
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