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Wheels in motion for return of Tunnel challenge

Date 6 Aug 2007

A unique race which sees athletes such as Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson breaking the speed limit through the Tyne Tunnel on wheelchairs returns this year on 28 September. Dame Tanni, who will be one of 24 elite athletes to do battle in the Tunnel 2K International, launched the 2007 event yesterday at Gateshead International Stadium.

Tunnel 2K International, which offers the UK’s largest prize fund for wheelchair racing, forms part of NewcastleGateshead’s festivals and events programme and is promoted by local firm, Burdus. The 2km course starts at the Tunnel’s south end with a 100m sprint to the entrance portal. The Olympic standard racing chairs reach up to 50mph on the 1km downhill section, before the racers switch to hand power for the final uphill kilometre.

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson said: "I am thrilled to see this event return and even more delighted to be a competitor for the sixth time. The uniqueness and the sheer challenge that Tunnel 2K International presents has established it as the highlight of the world wheelchair-racing calendar. It also sets the scene for North East England as we move towards the 2012 Olympics."

Tunnel 2K International attracts an internationally renowned field of Paralympic and record holding athletes, but this year the field could be the strongest ever with four of the top five competitors in the world series already lined up to take part.

Stella Hall, Creative Director of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: "We are delighted to see the return once again of this challenging and unique spectacle. Each year the race attracts an impressive international field making it a truly word-class sporting event. The continued success of Tunnel 2K International helps to place us in a strong position as we develop our plans towards 2012."

For more information on Tunnel 2k visit

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