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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Marathon runner makes Olympics
Tracey Morris
Tracey Morris only started running seriously 18 months ago
A 36-year-old woman from north Wales is on her way to the Olympics after being the first British woman to finish the 2004 London marathon.

Tracey Morris, who ran for Wales as a teenager, only took up running seriously again 18 months ago.

The Holyhead-raised runner finished the event on Sunday in a time of 2hrs 33min 51secs.

She has now been named in the Olympic marathon squad alongside Paula Radcliffe and Liz Yelling.

Morris completed the marathon in tenth place overall within the Olympic team qualifying time of 2hrs 37mins.

She had decided to enter the event at Christmas, and has only previously run a marathon on one occasion.

"I can hardly believe it," she said. "I will now have to speak to my bosses and see if I can get the time off work."

Although the runner was a former captain of the Welsh girls' running squad - reportedly at the same time as Colin Jackson was boys' captain - Morris - nee Jones - only took up running seriously again 18 months ago.

She decided to run to get fit, but as she did not want to run on her own at nights, joined the Valley Striders athletics' club in Leeds.

Tracey Morris
Tracey Morris crossing the line at the London marathon
Her only previous attempt at the London marathon was as a fun runner six years ago, when it took her over an hour longer to complete the course than this time round.

"It's like a dream come true," she said.

"I never dreamt this would happen when I lined up on the starting line."

"The (Olympic qualifying) time was at the back of my mind, but I've never raced a marathon before so I didn't know what I was capable of."

"I am now hoping I can knock more time off in Athens," she added.

In November 2003, she entered a 10km race in Flint, not realising beforehand that it was the Welsh championships - and won the event.

Following that victory, she raced as part of Wales' cross-country team in Cardiff the same month and in a 10km race for Wales in Leeds in December.

Morris, a former Holyhead High School pupil, left Wales to study to become an optician in Bradford before moving to Leeds, where she has been based since 1990.

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