Fylde Paralympian Shelly Woods won the BUPA Great North Run for the fifth time, a highlight of what Britain’s top female wheelchair racer admits has been “a weird year”
One disappointment for the St Annes-based 27-year-old was that the horrendous weather on Tyneside ruled out any prospect of registering a record time for the half-marathon course.
However, Woods did assert herself as UK no.1 with a comfortable victory in 54mins, 28secs, well clear of teenage prospect Jade Jones (57.17) and Liz McTernan (87.48) in a British one, two, three.
Triple Paralympic medalist Woods said: “It was very tough because the wind was swirly. There wasn’t much of an international field in my race this year, so I just kept chasing the guys.
“I want my record back here and I believe I can go under 50 minutes.
“The year I took a break from this race, the Americans came over and smashed my record (Amanda McGrory clocked 49.47 in 2009), so I hope to come back and get a good day with good conditions to get the record back.”
“The win was a welcome boost for Woods after losing her London Marathon crown in April and seeing her World Championships campaign in Lyon ruined by illness.
Woods added: “It has been a weird year after the Paralympics. 2012 was incredible and I was on such a high.
“I’ve had to reassess but now I’m focused on doing well in the Commonwealth Games next year and racing for England.
“It’s another home games and I’m really looking forward to that, so it will be a hard winter training .
“My preparation will include doing the New York Marathon again, and the Great North Run is good training for that because of the hills – the hills in New York are massive.”
Mo Farah had no complaints about finishing second to long-distance great Kenenisa Bekele in the Great North Run. The Ethiopian won in 1hr, 09secs, holding off a late charge over the last 100m by British double Olympic champion Farah, who finished one second adrift.
The women’s race was also a crowd-pleaser, with Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo finishing just four seconds shy of the course record to come home first in 1.05.44
British Paralympian David Weir won the men’s wheelchair race for the fourth time.