World record marathon holder Josh Cassidy stormed to victory last night in Tyneside’s very own cult wheelchair race.
The Tunnel 2K is dubbed the ‘fastest wheelchair race on the planet’, and sure enough it was all over in 4.40.2. Cassidy hit 72kph on his dash to the belly of the Tyne, for much of the time his head tucked down hard, wheeling blind for maximum pace. He then made the shoulder burning 1km climb out of the tunnel look like a walk in the Olympic Park, powering over the line with a convincing win to the delight of the crowd. Second across the line was Phil Hogg in 5.37.9 and then Mickey Bushell (London 2012 T53 100m Gold Medallist) in 5.41.7.
16 year old Jade Jones from Middlesbrough won the women’s race in 6.14.9 with first timer Sammi Kinghorn taking 2nd place 8 minutes 39.
17 year old Jamie Carter also took part making a total of four London 2012 Paralympians in the field of fifteen.
Tunnel 2K is the first major competition in the road racing Calendar after the Paralympic Marathon on 9th September.
Race Promoter David Burdus said: “The public and the media have really embraced the race this year. We have been swamped with requests to come along to the event in the wake of Paralympic fever. I am confident the race profile is going from strength to strength, and we’ve been absolutely delighted with the response.”
Special guest Baroness Grey Thompson said everyone involved in the race production should feel proud. “There really is nothing like this race in the world. Tunnel 2K is great for wheelchair racing and great for the northeast. I’ve been to every Tunnel 2K event, and I’m proud to support it.”
Rachel Turnbull, CEO of Tyne Tunnel operator TT2 Limited, welcomed guests to the race. She said: “The Tunnel 2k wheelchair race has become part of the character of the Tyne Tunnels. This is an event we make an exception for, because it is an exceptional event, and it brings our tunnels to life. This has been an incredible summer of sport, and we’re delighted to be part of it with our own unique and super charged race.