The final major marathon of 2017 takes place in New York (USA) on Sunday (5 November) with 36 elite wheelchair racers – including last year’s defending champions, Marcel Hug and Tatyana McFadden - taking on the 26.2-mile course.
Twelve months ago, Hug got the better of Australian Kurt Fearnley in a thrilling photo finish, notching up his sixth consecutive marathon win of the year as he finished in 1:35:49.
Victory this time around would mean a hat trick of wins in the Big Apple for the Swiss Silver Bullet who also won in 2013.
Paralympic silver medallist Fearnley also finished second behind Hug in October’s Chicago marathon, but the 36-year-old will be absent from the line up in New York, Tweeting earlier this week, “After 12yrs with @nycmarathon family I’ll miss this year with a baby due any day. Good luck marathoners!”
So it will be up to the likes of South Africa’s two-time winner Ernst van Dyk and Japan’s 2011 champion Masazumi Soejima to get the better of the dominant Swiss.
Watch out too for Japan’s Sho Watanabe, who beat Hug to the line in Tokyo in February this year, as well as his compatriots Ryota Yoshida and Tomoki Suzuki who finished inside the top eight in Chicago, just over one second behind Hug.
Fellow Japanese racer Kota Hokinoue also starts - he finished second behind Hug in Berlin in September and currently sits fourth in the Abbott World Marathon Majors leaderboard with 16 points.
Top of the Abbott WMM table after three races – Series XI started in London in April – is Hug with 66 points, with Briton David Weir and Fearnley second and third respectively with 25 points.
Germany’s in-form Alhassane Balde, Canadian Josh Cassidy, Briton Simon Lawson and Spain’s Rafael Botello are also in the 23-man field.
The women’s field includes home favourite and five-time New York marathon winner Tatyana McFadden as well as fellow Americans Amanda McGrory and Susannah Scaroni, China’s Paralympic champion Zou Lihong, Swiss Abbott WMM leader Manuela Schar and Australia’s Paralympic 5,000m T54 champion Madison de Rozario.
McGrory – winner in New York in 2006 and 2011 - finished a close second behind McFadden in Chicago last month, having also finished second behind Schar in Boston and London six months ago. The trio are likely to lead the way once again.
Wakako Tsuchida is the joint world record holder alongside Schär and the Japanese racer is also in the field this weekend.
The Abbott WMM Series XI includes the London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Boston marathons – starting and finishing in the British capital. Points are awarded to the top five male and female finishers in each race, with scores accumulated throughout the season.
The winner of each race earns 25 points – second receives 16 points, third gets nine points, fourth place means four points and fifth earns one point. The male and female series winners share a USD 100,000 prize purse at the end of the series; second and third place finishers receive USD 25,000 and USD 10,000 respectively.
Current Abbott WMM Series XI standings:
1. Marcel Hug (SUI) 66 points
2. David Weir (GBR) 25
3. Kurt Fearnley (AUS) 25
4. Kota Hokinoue (JPN) 16
5. Ryota Yoshida (JPN) 9
6. Jordi Madera Jimenez (ESP) 9
7. Ernst van Dyk (RSA) 4
8. Heinz Frei (SUI) 4
9. Sho Watanabe (JPN) 4
10. Rafael Botello Jimenez (ESP) 2
1. Manuela Schar (SUI) 59 points
2. Amanda McGrory (USA) 32
3. Tatyana McFadden (USA) 25
4. Sandra Graf (SUI) 16
5. Susannah Scaroni (USA) 9
6. Annika Zeyen (GER) 9
7. Margriet Van Den Broek (NED) 4
8. Patricia Keller (SUI) 4
9. Madison de Rozario (AUS) 4
10. Jade Jones (GBR) 1