Hug and McFadden win Chicago marathon titles

The Swiss and US wheelchair racers extended their leads at the top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors leaderboard. 10 Oct 2016
Close up of a wheelchair racer with a red racing suit and a silver helmet.

Marcel Hug SUI leads the Men's 5000m - T54 Round 1 Heat 1 at the Olympic Stadium.

ⒸSimon Bruty for OIS/IOC

Swiss racer Marcel Hug and the USA’s Tatyana McFadden raced to victory at the Chicago marathon in the USA on Sunday (9 October), as the pair continue to lead the way at the top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors leaderboard.

Hug, who won marathon T53/54 Paralympic gold at Rio 2016 in September, beat Australia’s defending champion Kurt Fearnley to the line in a nail-biting photo finish which saw the pair sprint to the line side-by-side.

It was Hug’s first win in Chicago and his fifth victory of the 2016 Abbott WMM series, having already won in Boston (USA), London (Great Britain) and Berlin (Germany) this year as well as the Paralympic title in Rio.

The 30-year-old crossed the line in 1:32:57, with Fearnley, silver medallist behind Hug in Rio, less than one second behind. The USA’s Josh George (1:32:59) finished in third place.

“It was a crazy finish, I think I never had that close ever, it was so close. It was really tough, the last 100m or 200m, we also had some touches, but in the end I was happy,” Hug told NBC News after the race.

“It feels great to win the Chicago marathon, it’s wonderful – it was a great year, especially in the marathons.”

Hug continues to sit well clear at the top of the Abbott leaderboard with 125 points with Fearnley in second place on 57 points and South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk third scoring 36 points. With just three more races to go to finish the series the ‘Swiss Silver Bullet’ looks assured of the championship title.

McFadden meanwhile notched up a phenomenal seventh win in the Windy City to become the most successful Chicago champion of all time.

The American, who also won in Boston and London earlier this year, finished in 1:42:28 as Swiss racer Manuela Schaer had to settle for second place in 1:42:29, having raced alongside McFadden for much of the race.

There was a gap to the rest of the field as McFadden’s US teammate and training partner Amanda McGrory came through to take third in 1:47:55.

“It feels amazing. This was a really tough race especially coming after Rio, we only had six weeks to really prepare for this race so it was really, really tough on my body, I could really feel the fatigue more than usual climbing that last hill,” McFadden, who won Paralympic silver last month after a photo finish with gold medallist Lihong Zou of China, told NBC News.

“I just gave it all I had and really raced with my heart today. It’s really good to have a win, especially being back at home, and especially after Rio getting second place at the Games.”

McFadden sits top of the women’s leaderboard with 91 points with Schaer in second with 73 points and Zou third with 26 points.

Next on the calendar is the New York marathon, which takes place on Sunday 6 November.