UWS student takes out City2Surf

Date: 14/08/2009

A record number of 75,000 people ran from Sydney's central business district to Bondi Beach in this year's City2Surf, and the first female to cross the finishing line was a student from the University of Western Sydney.

Melinda Vernon, who studies a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) at the UWS Campbelltown campus, has out-run her competitors in a number of Australian and overseas distance and track events.

The 2009 Sun-Herald City2Surf was Melinda's third attempt at the iconic Australian race, winning with a time of 47 minutes 46 seconds.

"Since I was a little kid watching it on the television, I've always wanted to win the City2Surf. Now that my dream has come true, I consider the City2Surf to be my most important win to date," says Melinda.

One week before competing in Sydney, Melinda also took out first place at the New Zealand Cross Country Championships in Christchurch. Both events have proved to be worthwhile training for Melinda, who is set to represent Australia at the Deaflympic Games in Taipei in September 2009.

For Melinda, being deaf poses certain challenges in athletics events. For example, she cannot hear the starting gun, the approach of other competitors, or the cheers of support from the crowd.

"Despite all of the challenges it presents, I do consider my hearing to be an advantage. I think it gives me more motivation and makes me more determined to succeed. I also get a sense of pride from showing the hearing-impaired community what is possible to achieve," she says.

As a resident of Springwood in the Blue Mountains, Melinda travels for more than an hour to reach the UWS Campbelltown campus where she studies Occupational Therapy.

"For the first three years of my degree I studied at UWS on a full-time basis, and it was quite a challenge to juggle my university and running commitments. Now, as a part-time student, I am grateful for the added flexibility which allows me to travel to overseas events without it impacting on my studies," she says.

Following Melinda's graduation from UWS in 2011, she hopes to work as an occupational therapist in the education system. One day, she also hopes to run her own practice, specialising in paediatrics.



Media Officer

Danielle Roddick
02 9678 7086, 0414 308 701