Hug sets new course record, Scaroni picks first win at Boston Marathon

USA wheelchair racer wins despite pit stop while Swiss Paralympic champion triumphs for sixth time in dominant fashion 18 Apr 2023
A male wheelchair racer crossing the finish line in a street marathon
Marcel Hug crosses the finish line at the 2023 Boston Marathon to take his sixth victory in the USA city
ⒸGetty Images
By Abbott World Marathon Majors

Switzerland's Paralympic champion Marcel Hug won his sixth Boston Marathon in a course record time to underline his dominant start to Wheelchair Series XV of the Abbott World Marathon Majors on Monday (17 April). Despite running repairs, USA's Susannah Scaroni took her first Boston victory in the women's wheelchair race. 
The Swiss Silver Bullet Hug applied his customary tactics to separate himself as early as possible from his rivals, and was soon out of sight as he raced through Ashland and Framingham.
The wet conditions required extreme levels of concentration from the experienced Paralympian, but he piloted his chair expertly up and down Boston’s famed slopes to romp to victory in 1:17:06 – more than a minute inside his previous best on the course.
Daniel Romanchuk put hosts USA in second in 1:27:45 with Dutchman Jetze Plat third in 1:28:35.
“It was difficult in these conditions but I was prepared for rain and everything went perfect,” said Hug.
“I just tried to go as fast as I could and see what was possible. To do this fast time on this course in these conditions is incredible. You have to break softly in the wet, and crossing the tram lines was also difficult, and the up-hills were really tough but in downhills you have time to recover.”
Hug has not lost a race since he came second to Romanchuk in Chicago in 2021. This was his sixth Boston win, bringing him the USD 25,000 prize purse plus USD 50,000 for the course record.
He now heads for London to defend his crown on Sunday (23 April). He has already established a healthy lead in the series having won in Tokyo and collected the eight bonus points in both cities.

Ninth-time lucky for Scaroni

Susannah Scaroni felt a loosening on her right wheel as she was barrelling along through the Boston Marathon’s eight cities and towns.

Calmly, she pulled over to the side of the road, reached into her chair and produced an Allen key, jamming it into the troublesome part of her racing chair and cranking it tight, before churning her arms into action again and getting back on the road.

It was an unflappable display of expertise and fortitude from an athlete who has become accustomed to overcoming adversity.

Scaroni has beaten the odds to get back to the very top of her sport after a collision with a car in 2021, claiming the AbbottWMM women’s wheelchair series last year.

Having missed out on Tokyo in March due to illness, she was already facing an uphill battle to hold on to her title as Manuela Schaer stormed to victory in Japan.

The Swiss star had also won the last three editions of Boston where her downhill coasting abilities have set her apart from the rest of the competition.

Monday was Scaroni’s day, however. She already had a lead over 30 seconds when her chair began to fail her, and she was able to stay ahead despite her short pit stop. After that, she set about increasing her advantage even further.

“I was super disappointed, but I’ve done marathons where I didn’t have a key, so I learned to carry one. I just tightened as much as I could and hoped I could maintain my gap. I’m happy it didn’t get loose again,” she said.

“I have come to Boston since I was 12, it’s been one of my all-time favourite courses but it challenged me, the rain challenged me and the crowds are here rain or shine here to support you.”

Scaroni eventually won by over five minutes from Australia's Madison de Rozario, with Japan's Wakako Tsuchida in third. Schaer did not finish.

Asked what it felt like to finally win here in her ninth appearance, Scaroni said, “It was pretty emotional. I always give everything I have and I know everyone else is doing so also. So, this is extra special.”

Kenyan runners triumphed in the the races for non-disabled athletes. Hellen Obiri won the women's Boston Marathon and Evans Chebet finished first in the men's category.

More information about the World Marathon Majors can be found here.