Daniel Romanchuk claimed his second consecutive major marathon victory on Sunday (4 November) with a win in New York, USA, underlining just why he is fast becoming the new face of men’s T54 wheelchair racing.
The American crossed the line in 1:36:21, one second ahead of defending champion Marcel Hug (1:36:22), with Briton David Weir (1:36:23) in third – repeating the podium places from Chicago last month.
Leading from the front
Romanchuk made his intentions clear from the gun, leading the climb over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the 26.2-mile course, but Hug and 2010 winner Weir were careful not to let the 20-year-old break clear.
It wasn’t long before the trio had opened up a gap ahead of the chasing pack and they each took turns at the front as the miles sped by.
But when it came to the final sprint, Hug and Weir couldn’t match Romanchuk’s power and strength.
With his long arms working hard all the way to the finish line, the Maryland-born racer notched up his second major marathon win in the space of four weeks, becoming the first male American wheelchair racer to win in the Big Apple.
“I’m very surprised,” Romanchuk told ESPN2 after the race. “I never expect to win a race, I just go in with a goal that I can control.
“A lot of things have been going right and coming together in the last year. The coaching, the training…this is an amazing experience to win two major marathons in a row. It still hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Romanchuk also claimed the bonus points up for grabs at the 20-kilometre mark, adding eight points to his Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII tally; he sits top of the men’s leaderboard with 67 points.
Schaer stays on top
Swiss Manuela Schaer safely defended her title in the women’s wheelchair division to extend her lead at the top of the women’s Abbott WMM leaderboard – she now has 83 points, having already won the first two races of Series XII in Berlin and Chicago as well as bonus points in Berlin.
McFadden, still racing in a borrowed wheelchair after her own was damaged in Germany, led for the first half of the race after setting off strongly at the start. She also claimed the eight bonus points available during the race.
But 33-year-old Schaer remained in touch and after an hour of racing the pair were out on front with the rest of the field nowhere to be seen.
After entering Central Park Schaer made her move, taking to the front and pulling clear in the closing stages before crossing the line in 1:50:27.
Five-time champion McFadden (1:50:48) finished second more than 20 seconds back, with China’s Paralympic champion Lihong Zou (1:56:14) in third.