Marcel Hug and Manuela Schar scored a Swiss double – their third of the year – with victory in the New York Marathon in the USA on Sunday 5th November.
Hug finished in 1:37:21 to complete a hat trick of wins in the Big Apple, having previously won in 2013 and 2016.
The 31-year-old finished well clear of the rest of the field, with Briton John Smith securing an impressive second place two minutes behind in 1:39:40.
“It's amazing. It was my last race this year, and to finish a season like that is just amazing, I’m really happy with it. It was a great year. I'm really happy that it went so well,” said Hug, who also won in Chicago (USA) last month.
Japan’s Sho Watanabe (1:39:51), winner in Tokyo (Japan) back in February, finished third while Canadian Josh Cassidy, who had sat in second place for much of the race, slipped back in the latter stages to finish ninth.
“It doesn't ever feel easy here in New York because the course is so tough, so many uphills, so it's always tough,” admitted Hug. “First, Josh Cassidy made a first move very early on the first bridge, and so we were two together, Josh and me, working together. But then I felt that Josh was getting tired. Then I came away from him. I was surprised that nobody else could follow.”
There was a convincing win for Schar too in the women’s wheelchair race, the 32-year-old crossing the line in 1:48:09 as she got the better of five-time champion Tatyana McFadden – having finished second for the last three years.
“It's so crazy. I just put it all on one card and took a big risk and attacked a lot of times and then was able to get away and then try to really make ground on the flat, which is my strength,” explained an emotional Schar afterwards.
Like Hug, Schar has enjoyed multiple major marathon wins this year. The pair were victorious in Boston (USA) and Berlin (Germany), with Schar also taking the tape in London (Great Britain) in April.
“It's just amazing, and I'm more than happy because it's the last race of the season and it's New York. I mean, what would you want more? It's been the perfect year,” she added.
McFadden clinched second place nearly three minutes back in 1:51:02, with fellow American Amanda McGrory (1:53:11) third. Paralympic champion Lihong Zou (2:03:20) was next across the line ten minutes later.
Hug and Schar round off the 2017 marathon season at the top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors leaderboard with both Para athletes extending their leads.
Series XI began in London this year and finishes back in the British capital next April. Next on the calendar is the Tokyo marathon, which takes place on Sunday 25th February.
Abbott WMM Series leaderboard (after four races)
Men’s wheelchair Series XI
1. Marcel Hug (SUI) - 91 points
2. David Weir (GBR) - 25
3. Kurt Fearnley (AUS) - 25
4. Johnboy Smith (GBR) - 17
5. Kota Hokinoue (JPN) - 16
6. Sho Watanabe (JPN) - 13
7. Ryota Yoshida (JPN) - 9
8. Jordi Madera Jimenez (ESP) - 9
9. Ernst van Dyk (RSA) - 8
10. Heinz Frei (SUI) - 4
Women’s wheelchair Series leaderboard
1. Manuela Schar (SUI) - 84
2. Amanda McGrory (USA) - 41
3. Tatyana McFadden (USA) - 41
4. Sandra Graf (SUI) - 16
5. Susannah Scaroni (USA) - 9
6. Annika Zeyen (GER) - 9
7. Madison de Rozario (AUS) - 5
8. Margriet Van Den Broek (NED) - 4
9. Patricia Keller (SUI) - 4
10. Jade Jones (GBR) - 1