Blackpool’s Shelly Woods was agonisingly denied a third Great North Run victory, finishing less than a second behind the winner.

Defending champion Shelly, 22, was thwarted in her hat-trick attempt by Canadian rival Diane Roy, after a cat and mouse duel through the streets of Tyneside.

In a dramatic sprint finish to the wheelchair race, Shelly, who won silver and bronze at the Beijing Paralympics last month, set sail for home in the final mile but was overhauled with around 150 metres to go.

She finished in a time of 51mins, 19 secs, which was slower than her course record time, set when she won the race in 2005.

After the race, Shelly acknowledged she had been beaten by the stronger athlete on the day.

She said: “We were neck and neck all the way though and it was a great race.

“Looking back I think I started the sprint a little too early with around 400 metres to go and she came past me with around 150 left and I died a little.

“We tested each other on the hills and she was just a bit stronger this time.”

Shelly, who lives in St Annes and works for Blackpool council, was beaten by the same athlete in 2006.

In that race Roy had forged ahead at the 15km point but this time Shelly was able to keep with her throughout the race.

The Great North Run was ideal preparation for the New York marathon in which Shelly, a Blackpool Wyre and Fylde ASC member, will be one of the leading contenders next month.