DETERMINED Debbie Hill was the first runner home – and then revealed how tragedy had driven her to success.
The 35-year-old from Warrior Park in Seaton Carew, completed the Race For Life course in just over 24 minutes.
The Burn Road Harrier said: “I knew I was capable of doing the course but when a friend of mine, Eileen Smith, died of cancer, I decided I was going to win it this year.
“I knew I could do it, especially when I went ahead after the Newburn Bridge. I knew I had a chance of winning.”
Debbie, a Hartlepool College of Further Education administrator, is married to Greig, 35, who works as a network manager for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
They have two children Luke, 12, and Noah, aged five. Debbie said Eileen had been a family friend who had died in her 60s.
She said after the run: “The atmosphere has been fantastic from the warm-up onwards. The main thing, though, is this is such a worthy cause and it is all about raising the money to make a difference.
“It has been emotional.”
She said she hoped Eileen would have been proud of her.