There was double glory for Switzerland on Monday (17 April) as Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär raced to victory in the Boston marathon in the USA, both with new world best times.
Hug, who won all six of the major marathons in 2016, continued to show his dominance out on the roads as he notched up his third consecutive Boston title in 1:18:03, taking 22 seconds off the previous course record set by Canadian Josh Cassidy.
The race in Boston also marked the end of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series X, which began in the US city 12 months ago.
The Series took in eight major marathons throughout the year, with points being scored from the six best finishes of each racer.
Hug, 31, had already wrapped up the men’s title before the end of last year, having enjoyed a clean sweep of six wins during 2016 - including the Paralympic title in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Many of Hug’s recent victories have followed thrilling sprint finishes, and Monday’s win in Boston was no different.
The Swiss Silver Bullet took the top spot ahead of 10-time Boston winner Ernst van Dyk of South Africa, who was awarded the same time. Japan’s Hiroyuki Yamamoto was third in 1:19:32.
“It was really crazy. It was a really nice race, a lot of tailwind so it was really fast. In the end, I was really happy to work together with Ernst. I’m really happy to have a good finish,” Hug explained to WBZ-TV after the race.
The final leaderboard for the WMM Series X finished with Hug on 125 points, Australia’s Kurt Fearnley second with 73 points and van Dyk third with 65 points.
Schär meanwhile secured her first ever win in the US city with a sensational new course record.
Marathon world champion in 2013, the 32-year-old finished second in February’s Tokyo marathon in Japan behind US racer Amanda McGrory – but the tables were turned this time around.
There was no doubting Schär as she took the tape well clear of her rivals in a time of 1:28:17 – knocking nearly six minutes off the previous course record (1:34:06) set by Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida in 2011. The Boston course is not accepted for world records.
“What a crazy day, I can’t believe it,” said Schär. “So far, it was the perfect day.”
McGrory had to settle for second place in a time of 1:33:13, with her Illinois teammate Susannah Scaroni in third, another four seconds behind.
US racer Tatyana McFadden, who suffered a blood clot in her legs earlier this year, finished a creditable fourth after missing weeks of training.
Like Hug, McFadden also had the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series X already sewn up – the 27-year-old finished top of the leaderboard with 116 points, having enjoyed wins in Boston, London, New York and Chicago last year.
Schär finished second with 98 points and McGrory third with 68 points.
The WMM Series XI commences in London, Great Britain in just six days’ time (Sunday 23 April).