A RUNCORN runner was the first woman to cross the line in the Chester Half Marathon.

Gemma Connolly, aged 32, braved the heat to complete the race in one hour, 22 minutes and 20 seconds.

She joined almost 7,000 runners in the record-breaking event on Sunday, May 18.

Gemma, from Morley Road, said: “I was really pleased to win. I did enjoy it.”

It was her first road race since completing the Manchester Marathon six weeks ago in two hours 46 minutes and 33 seconds.

She completed the London Marathon in 2004 and joined St Helens Sutton Running Club in 2006.

Gemma works in the Factory Shop in Frodsham and teaches aerobics and spinning classes.

She added: “It’s difficult running twice a day in all weathers through the winter. You have to put a lot of time in but there’s a good atmosphere running with the club.”

She is now preparing for some club track races.

Gemma added: "I'm hoping to do some more 10ks and another half marathon. I might do the Southport marathon in July."