In the time span of less than a week, a trio of large-scale marathons took place around the world and brought out Paralympians hoping to take home a prestigious win.
In London on 25 April, Paralympian Kurt Fearnley from Australia took the first position in the Men’s Wheelchair race, with last year’s winner David Weir (GBR) following in second place. Only one second separated the top three places, with third place going to Ernst Van Dyk from South Africa, finishing at 1:28:59. Masazumi Soejima (JPN) finished in fourth position, while Heinz Frei (SUI) came in fifth position with a time of 1:30:16.
In the Women’s Wheelchair race, Paralympian Amanda McGrory (USA) took the top position, finishing at 1:50:39. McGrory also finished just one second ahead of Sandra Graf (SUI) who took the second position. In matching with the results of the Men’s race, the top six positions were separated by two seconds or less. Diane Roy from Canada took third, followed by Edith Hunkeler (SUI), Christie Dawes (AUS) and Shelly Woods (GBR).
Days earlier on 20 April, the 113th Boston Marathon took place, with familiar athlete Ernst Van Dyk taking the top position in the Men’s Wheelchair race. Paralympian Ambassador Van Dyk finished at 1:33:29, followed by Masazumi Soejima (JPN) who finished at 1:36:57. Coming in third and fourth places were Roger Puigbo Verdaguer (ESP) and Krige Schabort (USA) respectively.
The Women’s Wheelchair race in Boston saw Paralympian Wakako Tsuchida from Japan take the top position, finishing at 1:54:37. Tsuchida was followed by Diane Roy (CAN), Shirley Reilly (USA) and Amanda McGrory (USA) respectively.
At the home of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) headquarters in Bonn, Germany, the ninth Rhein-Energie Marathon also took place on the same weekend as London’s race. Paralympian Ambassador Henry Wanyoike impressed the full crowd of onlookers and fans, participating in the half-marathon event. The visually impaired athlete from Kenya took the sixth position, with guide Joseph Kibanja, in a time of 1:14:56. Visually impaired athlete Regina Vollbrecht who participated in Goalball at the ATHENS 2004 Paralympic Games, also took part in the marathon.