MELISSA MARWOOD wasn’t meant to be running the Race for Life this weekend, but the hospital worker ended up being the accidental winner of the race.
Her friend Joelle O’Neill was meant to be running, but she fell seriously ill with shingles, so Melissa took up her place instead, at the last minute.
Melissa, 26, of Kirkstall, who finished the 10km category in just 45 minutes, said: “I do run a lot and have done 10k flat road races before. I had intended to enter this year’s Race for Life at Temple Newsam but missed the entry date and was disappointed.
“I had been training with Joelle and when she said she was too ill to run she asked if I wanted her place as it would be a shame to waste it and all the sponsorship money she had already collected for Cancer Research UK.
“I went along and wore her number and name on the bib and it wasn’t until the end and when I won that I had to say I wasn’t actually called Joelle. I explained she had been too ill so I ran it instead. The organisers were great about it. I didn’t actually expect to win.”
So she felt a bit embarrassed when she was first to cross the finish line: “I wasn’t supposed to win, that is why it was all a surprise when I did.”
The clinical technologist who works in radiology at St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford, added: “I see a lot of patients with breast cancer, so when Joelle said do you want to take my charity place, I was like ‘definitely’ - it’s such a good cause.”
Melissa said that the course at Temple Newsam was lovely and picturesque but quite hilly, so not as easy as a flat road race.
She added: “I have run the Leeds 10k before and other road races and liked them, but this was a different challenge but I really enjoyed it and of course it was great to come first, but I know that is not the point.”
More than 8,000 women took part in the 5k and 10k events at Temple Newsam on Sunday.