HERE RUNS THE BRIDE! Teacher who started running to lose weight for her wedding ends up completing 100k ultra marathon A TEACHER who started running “to lose a bit of weight” for her wedding got so hooked that she has just completed her first ultra marathon, covering 100 kilometres in two days. Before she started running, Laura Tumilty didn’t do much exercise because her spare time was taken up marking and planning lessons in information and communications technology. But, with her wedding to Gary just eighteen months away, she felt it was time to make an effort. - - Eight years later, and two-and-a-half stones lighter, Laura is still running, with the highlight being the Race To The Stones ultra-marathon, along Britain’s oldest path, from the Chilterns to the North Wessex Downs. “Once I started running regularly, I just got hooked, and started taking part in 5k runs,” says Laura, who now works for the North East Autism Society at Thornhill Park School in Sunderland. “I’m not fast, I don’t race – I just run against myself. “Gary would support me by cheering me on and meeting me at the finish line, but he eventually decided that, if he was there anyway, he might as well join in. Now we’re both running regularly.” Laura, 34, progressed to the Sunderland 10k, and then, last year, ran in the Great North Run for NEAS. She said: I was running for myself anyway, and I thought, ‘why not raise some money while I’m doing it?' NEAS is such a wonderful charity – they help individuals and families, all round the North-East, where autism is a daily part of their lives. After Gary entered the Race to the Stones ultra-marathon, running the 100k route in one day, he kept asking Laura to do it with him. She finally agreed – but only on condition that they did it over two days, and she would run it for NEAS again. “It was gruelling,” she confesses, “but the worst moment was getting up on the second morning knowing that I still had half the course to run. “After doing 50k the first day, that first hour on the second day was really tough. But I told my legs to keep doing it, and it did get easier in the afternoon.” Laura has raised nearly £300, so far, through her Just Giving page, to support the work that NEAS does around the region. - - She has no plans to take it easy. As well as being a member of her local running club, Run Fit Hartlepool, she regularly takes part in her local 5k Parkruns. “The Parkruns are such a great, free, community event, and it doesn’t matter what your ability is, or how fast or slow you are, everyone can join in.” Always looking for the next challenge, she and Gary are aiming to run all the Park runs around the North-East. If you want to support the work of NEAS, you can make a donation on Laura’s Just Giving page: Donate now.