Mum running Leeds Half Marathon to fund research into genetic condition

Melanie Burkinshaw with daughter Nuala and son Finlay
Melanie Burkinshaw with daughter Nuala and son Finlay
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A MUM will tackle will the Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday to help fund research into the life-threatening genetic condition which affects her husband and two young children.

Melanie Burkinshaw, 37, of Moortown, is determined to complete her first half marathon to raise funds for the Marfan Trust.

Mrs Burkinshaw’s husband James, 40, suffers from Marfan syndrome, which led to him losing the sight in his left eye in his late teens.

He had to undergo open heart surgery in his mid twenties when doctors replaced his aorta with a synthetic artery.

The procedure was carried out to reduce the risk of an aneurysm – where the aorta balloons – as Marfan syndrome sufferers’ muscle tissue is weaker than normal.

The condition also causes some people with the condition to be unusually tall. Mr Burkinshaw is 6ft 5in and the couple’s children are very tall for their age.

Three-and-a-half-year-old son Finlay is as tall as a six-year-old and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Nuala is as tall as a four-year-old.

Mrs Burkinshaw said both children have regular eye and heart checks and will probably have to undergo heart surgery at some point in their lives.

She added: “The Marfan Trust’s research is helping develop drugs to reduce the effects of the condition, which is really important for the long term health of my children.”

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– Drivers are being urged to be aware of a number of road closures for the 30th Leeds Half Marathon this Sunday.

The YEP-backed race, which is organised by Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All team, starts at 9.30am on the Headrow but road closures will start from 4am.

Among city centre roads to be affected by closures are: The Headrow between Oxford Place and Briggate; Cookridge Street; Westgate; New Briggate; Great George Street between Calverley Street and Woodhouse Lane; Upper Basinghall Street and North Street.

A full list of road closures is available at