US Para athlete Ray Martin notched up his third consecutive London marathon win with victory in the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup on Sunday (23 April).
The 23-year-old T52 racer clocked 1:57:15 as he saw off the likes of Colombia’s world bronze medallist Cristian Torres (1:59:10) and Spain’s former marathon world champion Santiago Sanz (1:59:42) to secure a hat-trick of wins in the British capital.
“I really loved this marathon the most, it definitely plays to my strengths with all the flats; it was beautiful weather, the sun came out right after the start so it was a good race,” said Martin, who won 400m and 1,500m T52 gold at Rio 2016 seven months ago.
“I have been taking a lot of hours at university so I’ve actually only been training five times a week in my race chair so I was a little nervous, and I knew Santi is always a good racer so I wasn’t sure I was going to win. I was really glad that I was able to hold on.”
Martin now looks forward to returning to London for the World Para Athletics Championships in July which take place at the city’s Olympic Park – the venue where he won four track golds in 2012.
“The fact that I was able to pull this off in London, I think it sets me up for a good track season,” added Martin.
The American was one of seven 2017 World Cup champions crowned in the British capital – home favourite David Weir had earlier secured a record seventh win in London in a time of 1:31:06, beating Switzerland’s defending champion Marcel Hug (1:31:07) in a terrific sprint to the line.
There was a clear win for Hug’s compatriot Manuela Schär in the women’s T53/54 race. The 32-year-old finished well clear of the field in 1:39:57 - her second course record in less than one week, having won in Boston, USA six days previously.
Brazil’s world silver medallist Alex Pires da Silva was the fastest on paper in the men’s T45/46 class, and he lived up to expectations as he took the tape in 2:28:20.
Morocco’s Abdelhadi El Harti (2:29:38) finished in second place with Great Britain’s Derek Rae (2:33:24) in third.
Japan’s Shinya Wada (2:34:59) finished 2016 as world ranked number one after running a personal best in Fukuoka in December, and the 39-year-old continued that impressive form in London, winning the T11/12 class.
Portugal’s Gabriel Macchi (2:39:38) finished second while Japan’s world bronze medallist Tadashi Hirokoshi (2:39:57) had to settle for third place once again.
There was another win for Japan in the women’s T11/12 race as Paralympic marathon T12 silver medallist Misato Michishita finished well clear of her rivals in 3:00:50. Spain’s Maria Paredes Rodriguez (3:09:41), World Cup winner in 2013 and 2014, finished second and Japan’s Mikhoko Nishijima (3:19:31) was third.
Poland’s Patryk Lukaszewski (2:32:20) was first over the line in the T13 class, with New Zealander Tim Prendergast (2:41:38) nearly ten minutes behind.