Marathon season moved from Europe to North America with Chicago and Boston marathon’s providing a spectacular doubleheader for the Para athletics fans.
Chicago Marathon was the first major race in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March 2020 on Sunday (10 October).
Competing in warm and windy conditions, the US athletes Tatyana McFadden and Daniel Romanchuk took the victories on home soil in wheelchair races exactly 728 days after the last edition of the Chicago Marathon.
The 32-year-old McFadden triumphed for the ninth time in Chicago crossing the finish line in 1:48:57. It was McFadden’s 24th career major marathon win.
“Chicago Marathon was my first marathon back in 2009. It led me to an amazing career and it was so good to be back and get the number nine,” the 20-time Paralympic medallist said.
“It was an amazing feeling. Chicago is like my second home, I get great support here and the crowd is cheering for me all the way.”
US athletes swept the podium with Yen Hoang in second (1:50:14) and fellow 2020 Paralympian Jenna Fesemyer in third (1:50:23).
HUG’S REDEMPTION IN BOSTON
After finishing second only a week ago at the London Marathon, Daniel Romanchuk celebrated his third straight victory at the Chicago Marathon clocking in 1:29:07.
“It has been an amazing day out, nice and warm. We had a slightly smaller field than usual but overall it was amazing to be back racing,” reckoned the bronze medallist in the marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Romanchuk dropped the Swiss Paralympic marathon champion, Marcel Hug, 400 meters from the finish line. After winning in Berlin and London, the 35-year-old Swiss Silver Bullet had to settle for second place (1:29:08).
“Marcel [Hug] is an amazing racer, very fit right now. I had a very good group of people and great conditions for my result,” concluded Romanchuk.
His compatriot Aaron Pike took third in 1:29:28.
Less than 24 hours after completing the Chicago Marathon, athletes took on the 125th edition of the Boston Marathon on a Monday (11 October) morning.
Marcel Hug, the four-time Paralympic champion from Tokyo, redeemed himself after failing to triumph in Chicago with his fifth victory in Boston.
The Swiss Silver Bullet crossed the finish line at 1:18:11, just seven seconds of the course record he set in 2017. Unfortunately, Hug missed the right turn a few blocks from the finish line and lost the precious time to break the course record.
“The car went straight and I followed the car. But it’s my fault. I should have gone right,” admitted Hug.
Chicago Marathon winner Daniel Romanchuk finished second (1:25:46) with South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk clocking in 1:28:43 to end up at the third step of the podium.
HAT-TRICK FOR SCHAER
Hug’s compatriot Manuela Schaer won the women’s wheelchair race and made it a Swiss double for the third time in two weeks.
After winning the Berlin Marathon at the end of September, Hug and Schaer triumphed in London before coming to North America.
Schaer, the five-time medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, won the Boston Marathon in 1:35:21. It was her third victory in Boston and a successful title defense from 2019.
“It’s so good to be back, to be back to normal racing with the crowd. It helped me so much today because I struggled in the first half. I couldn’t really find my rhythm,” reckoned the 36-year-old Swiss star.
Tatyana McFadden finished in second place with a time of 1:50:20 with her compatriot Yen Hoang (1:51:25) rounding up the top three.
For the first time in race history, athletes with vision, upper-limb, and lower-limb impairments competed for prize money and awards at the Boston Marathon.
USA’s Chaz Davis won in the men’s T11/12 with a time of 2:46:52, while Japan’s Paralympic champion Misato Michisita took the victory in the same women’s class (3:08:14).
Tayana Passos from Brazil crossed the finish line first in the women’s T13 clocking in 3:25:45. Christopher Lancaster triumphed in the men’s T13 class with a time of 3:38:15 on home soil.
Marko Cheseto Lemtukei from the USA won the men’s T61-64 (2:53:09) with his compatriot Liz Willis taking the victory in the women’s class (4:04:01).
Complete results can be found on the Chicago and Boston Marathon official websites.