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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Wheelchair athlete's marathon joy
Shelly Woods
Shelly Woods was competing in her first London Marathon
A wheelchair athlete from Blackpool has spoken of her joy at finishing second in her first London Marathon.

Shelly Woods, 18, was beaten by Francesco Porcellato, but finished ahead of Paralympic legend Dame Tanni Grey Thompson who came third on Sunday.

"It was amazing. The crowds were deafening and when I was coming down the Mall at the end, I couldn't hear myself push," she said.

Shelly has only been racing for the past three years.

Planning to relax

She recorded a sub two-hour time following on from her success in the Great North Run in September where she finished second.

"It was a bit of a sprint start to the race, which I later found out was the other athletes' way of testing each other's tactics," said Shelly, an employee of Blackpool Council who was left paralysed by an accident aged 11.

"At 11 miles, Francesca put an attack, then at 16 miles, I put an attack in to get a lead and broke away from Tanni.

"At the 23-mile point, I started to feel it in my arms. By that stage it was just Francesca and I at the front and we couldn't lose each other."

She is only planning to relax for one week before getting back into training for the British Wheelchair Racing Championships at Stoke Mandeville, which act as qualifiers for the European Championships, to be held in Finland in August.

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