Tyne Tunnel 2K International 10th Anniversary Race Results
The River God Tyne was behind athlete and artist Josh Cassidy this evening as he stormed to his second major UK road race victory this year. The 2010 Virgin London Marathon winner took gold at the 10th annual Tyne Tunnel 2K wheelchair race just ahead of Beijing double gold medal winner David Weir.The women’s field was won by Shelly Woods and in an incredible performance newcomer Jade Jones, the youngest athlete ever to compete in the race, surprised everyone by taking second place, only four seconds behind the lead female.
Canadian Josh Cassidy completed the grueling 2k course in 4.04.3, followed by GB David Weir at 4.13.3. South African Ernst van Dyk took third place with a time of 4.23.0
The women’s race was finished by Shelly Woods in a time of 6.31.1, closely followed by Jade Jones at 6.35.4, and Francesca Porcelatto following in third place with a time of 7.49.5.
Speaking after the race Josh Cassidy said: “This year had the toughest competition in years, and so it was great to come out on top. I was pleased to have a clear win, and also setting a personal best.”
Cassidy was commissioned to create a stunning new graphic image of the River God Tyne blowing wheelchair racers through the Tunnel to commemorate the 10th anniversary race, prints of which were handed to the race winners with their prizes.
Shelly Woods has mastered the tough climb out of the tunnel. She has become something of a permanent fixture on the winners’ rostrum having taken gold for the second consecutive year, with previous wins in 2005 and 2006.
Baroness Grey Thompson, who competed in the first ever Tyne Tunnel 2k, awarded the prizes to the female race winners. She described the event as ‘the fastest wheelchair race on the planet’, adding that there was no other race like it.
Middlesbrough teenager, Jade Jones, is coached by Baroness Grey Thompson and her husband, Dr Ian Thompson. The 15 year old GCSE student is already World Junior Champion and record holder in the 100m to 1500m, and her performance tonight is sure to place her as a serious contender for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Race promoter, David Burdus said, “This race could only happen here. Tyne Tunnel 2 Ltd and the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority have helped create this modern classic. North and South Tyneside Councils’ support has also been central, with a special thanks to the Kier North Tyneside Council Partnership and North Tyneside Council’s event team at the finish line.”
North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Linda Arkley, presented prizes to the male winners after the race. Mayor Arkley said: “This is a unique event that we’re immensely proud to be supporting once again. The speeds that the athletes reach are quite incredible and make the race tremendously exciting.”
Trevor Jackson, Managing Director of TT2, said: “I am delighted to once again host the T2k wheelchair race at the Tyne Tunnel. The event gets better each year, and is building up a cult following both amongst the athletes and our local communities. This was the last race to take place in the original 1967 Tyne Tunnel before it closes for a major face lift early next year, so it was a poignant event. It was certainly as thrilling and exciting as it always is!”
Kier North Tyneside regional director, John Norton, said: “We are delighted to be involved in such a unique and fast paced race as The Tyne Tunnel 2k. As a locally based company, we always strive to support local events and charities where possible and are thrilled to be part of something with such strong tradition in our area”.
Paul Fenwick, Project Director for the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, said: “The Transport Authority is pleased to support an event that is becoming a major part of the sporting scene in Tyne and Wear. Once again it has brought an international focus to the region”
Thanks for support in kind and sponsorship are also due to BT South Tyneside, Simon Storage, Inter Pipeline Fund, Arup, North East chamber of Commerce, Bouygues TP UK, Port of Tyne, Robinson Ward Accountants, Tanni Grey-Thompson Ltd, Nova Holdings, Wheelchair Accessibles and FWA.
The Deputy Leader of South Tyneside, Councillor Alan Kerr, started the race in Jarrow. Councillor Kerr, said: “It was an honour to be asked to start the 2010 Tyne Tunnel wheelchair race. I was full of admiration of the skill and stamina of the athletes taking part. The T2k is now established as one of the premier sporting events on South Tyneside.”
The race starts at the south interchange of the Tyne Tunnel, where muscle power alone propels athletes to speeds of up to 50 miles per hour in an adrenaline charged dash to the belly of the River Tyne. The competitors then face a shoulder burning, lung busting climb out to the Tyne Tunnel toll booth finish line, north of the river, where the quickest competitors complete the two kilometer temporary race track in under 5 minutes – the course record is a staggering 3m 47s set by Australian Paralympic gold medalist Kurt Fearnley 2006.