New York, USA plays host to the final major marathon of the year on Sunday 4 November with more than 30 elite wheelchair racers – including defending champions Marcel Hug and Manuela Schaer – taking on the world-renowned course.
Swiss Paralympic champion Hug has won three of the last five editions of the 26.2-mile race but the 32-year-old has suffered three defeats so far this year, most recently in Chicago, where American Daniel Romanchuk claimed his first major marathon victory.
New kid on the block
Romanchuk saw off Hug in a final sprint to the line in Chicago and while the 20-year-old’s record in New York is limited to fifteenth place on his debut in 2016 (he missed last year’s race due to food poisoning), there’s no denying the young American is a key contender this weekend.
Romanchuk’s progress over the last twelve months has seen him finish third in Boston and London this year, while on the track he set new world records in the 800m and 5,000m T54.
He currently sits top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII leaderboard and two points ahead of Hug, who won both Series X and XI.
Five-time New York marathon winner Kurt Fearnley also lines up, as do past champions David Weir, who won in 2010 – the last time he raced in New York; South Africa’s two-time champion Ernst van Dyk, who last tasted victory there in 2015; 2011 champion Soejima Masazumi of Japan and USA’s two-time winner Krige Schabort.
Australian Fearnley won the Commonwealth Games title in April this year, where he was joined on the podium by Johnboy Smith and Simon Lawson; the two Britons also race on Sunday.
Smith finished second behind Hug in New York last year and third in Berlin just over six weeks ago; a puncture at the 12-mile mark in Chicago in October put paid to his chances there, but the 28-year-old is certainly a key contender this week.
McFadden to make history?
In the women’s field, USA’s Tatyana McFadden is – like Fearnley - going for a record sixth win in the Big Apple. The 29-year-old course record holder won four in a row from 2013 to 2016 but lost out to Swiss Schaer twelve months ago.
The American will surely be hoping for a turnaround in her fortunes after racing in borrowed chairs at the last two major marathons - her own was damaged ahead of September’s race in the German capital.
Schaer’s recent marathon form has been outstanding, with wins in Tokyo, Berlin and Chicago so far this year.
The 33-year-old broke the marathon world record in Berlin and currently heads up the women’s Abbott WMM Series XII – she won Series XI, which finished in London in April.
Watch out too for Australian Madison de Rozario, who finished second behind Schaer in Chicago, another podium finish for the 24-year-old who won in London one week after claiming the 2018 Commonwealth crown.
China’s Paralympic gold medallist Lihong Zou also starts, as do Americans Amanda McGrory and Susannah Scaroni.
McGrory has plenty of experience around the New York course – she has finished on the podium seven times, with wins in 2006 and 2011, while in-form Scaroni has finished in the top three at the last four major marathons this year – Boston, London, Berlin and Chicago.
Abbott World Marathon Majors – Series XII current leaderboards after Berlin and Chicago:
1. Daniel Romanchuk USA 34
2. Brent Lakatos CAN 33
3. Marcel Hug SUI 32
4. David Weir GBR 9
5. Johnboy Smith GBR 9
6. Jordi Madera Jimenez ESP 5
7. Hiroki Nishida JPN 4
1. Manuela Schaer SUI 58
2. Susannah Scaroni USA 25
3. Madison de Rozario AUS 24
4. Sandra Graf SUI 13
5. Alina Dos Rocha BRA 4
6. Katrina Gerhard USA 1
7. Margriet Van Den Broek NED 1