“It was a really tough race today.”
Marcel Hug and Tatyana McFadden continued their dominance of wheelchair marathon racing, winning in New York, USA, on Sunday (6 November) as both rounded off a superb 2016 season completing the Grand Slam of four major marathons.
Success on the streets of New York followed wins earlier this year in Boston (USA), London (Great Britain), and Chicago (USA), for both Para athletes who also end the year with unassailable leads at the top of their respective Abbott World Marathon Majors leaderboards.
In fact it was a remarkable fourth consecutive Grand Slam for McFadden – 16 major marathons in a row - and her fifth win in New York, while for Swiss Paralympic champion Hug it was his second victory in the city, having also won in 2013.
Hug, 30, got the better of Australia’s Kurt Fearnley in yet another photo finish following a dramatic sprint to the line – a situation they have frequently found themselves in this year, including just last month in Chicago.
But it was Hug who proved the winner yet again, having also won in Berlin, Germany, and at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games – as he crossed the line in 1:35:49.
Fearnley, second behind Hug at Rio 2016 as well as in London and Chicago, was awarded the same time, finishing just 0.06 seconds later, while the USA’s Josh George was third (1:39:01).
“It was a really tough race today,” admitted Hug. “The uphills were really, really tough. But I tried to follow Kurt Fearnley on the uphill, and also I shared the lead with him because it was a big wind.
“So I think we both thought that we’d make it in a finish sprint, as we did in the last few marathons. We had a lot of finish sprints, Kurt and I. So I was not surprised.”
Victory for McFadden, who won six medals at September’s Rio 2016 Paralympics, including four golds and silver over 100m and the marathon, was rather more clear-cut.
The 27-year-old took to the front at the 15-mile mark and finished in 1:47.43, two minutes ahead of Swiss racer Manuela Schaer (1:49:28) while the USA’s Amanda McGrory was third (1:53:15).
“It was great to end the season on such a high note. Coming from the Paralympics, winning six medals there, and then winning Chicago and New York; it’s been just an amazing journey,” said McFadden, who took her points tally to 116 in the inaugural Abbott World Marathon Majors wheelchair standings.
With the top five results from the eight events of the 12-month Series counting, McFadden sealed overall victory in New York with two races remaining. Schaer sits in second place with 89 points – her score made up of one victory (in Berlin) and four second place finishes.
Hug also holds an irrefutable lead at the top of the men’s Series X leaderboard, with a maximum 125 points. Fearnley sits second with 73 points with South African Ernst van Dyk third with 30 points. The Series continues in Tokyo, Japan, in February 2017, and finishes in Boston next April.