SHELLY Woods’ confidence is sky-high after her most dominant victory yet in the Great North Run.
The St Annes-based Paralympian’s second successive win in the Tyneside half-marathon and her fourth in seven attempts was achieved by a massive margin of two and a half minutes over her American arch-rival Amanda McGrory.
Woods’ time of 50mins, 14secs in the women’s wheelchair race was just outside her personal best but knocked almost three minutes off her 2010 winning time.
It was an unusual race for Woods, who powered away from the start and had only the clock to compete against as her rivals trailed a long way back, unable to make up ground on the commanding leader.
25-year-old Woods said: “I have never won by such a big margin and it was a really good day for me.
“I got away in the first two miles and it’s a position I’ve never been in before.
“It certainly doesn’t often happen against Amanda. We are well matched and it ususally comes down to a sprint finish between us. This was payback time.
“You know someone like Amanda will reel you in, so I just tried to put as much distance between us as I could.
I’ve worked hard on my downhill, which has improved, and I think that showed.
“It is tough racing on you own but I do like it. When it is close you can lose time looking round.”
The one consolation for McGrory was that her course record remains intact, Woods’ time 27 seconds outside it.
The Fylde favourite added: “I’m pleased with my time as there was very little wind. When I did 50.06 there was a really strong tail wind.”
The double Paralympic medalist is now looking forward to some time at home after a hectic recent schedule.
She spent only one day on the Fylde between returning from the athletics world champions in South Korea a fortnight ago, where she won a 1,500m bronze medal, and flying out to the Portuguese Algarve for a GB training camp.
Shelly arrived back in the country on Thursday, with very little preparation time for yesterday’s race.
Woods added: “My confidence is really good at the moment but I knew I have a few areas to work on before New York on November 6, when Amanda will be one of my main rivals again.”
n There was double success for Kenya in the Great North Run with Martin Mathathi setting a course record in the men’s race, and Lucy Karbuu coming home first in the women’s.
Lucy Karbuu of Kenya was a surprise winner of the women’s race in one hour, seven minutes and six seconds.
British pair, Jo Pavey and Helen Clitheroe warmed up for the 2012 London Olympics with fine runs.
Pavey, 37, finished fourth while Clitheroe followed her home in fifth.
Mathathi, who won bronze in the 10,000 metres at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, broke from the pack with six miles left to become the fastest man ever to run the Great North Run.