The New York City Marathon celebrates its 50th anniversary on Sunday (7 November) with a very special field of wheelchair racers including the first meeting of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion Madison de Rozario and silver medallist Manuela Schaer since the Games in August.
One of the most popular marathon races in the world, New York will see more than 33,000 racers in this year’s edition after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TCS New York City Marathon is the last of the five World Marathon Majors taking place this year. The 20-time Paralympic medallist Tatyana McFadden clinched the victory in Chicago, while Switzerland’s star Schaer won the races in Berlin, London, and Boston.
Schaer, the three-time NYC Marathon winner, leads the World Marathon Majors rankings with 149 points in front of McFadden in second place with 97 points.
McFadden and Schaer will go up against each other in the streets of New York, although all eyes will be on the newly-crowned Paralympic champion De Rozario.
The 27-year-old Australian wheelchair racer won gold in a nail-biting finish in front of the eight-time Paralympic medallist Schaer.
De Rozario triumphed by just 0.01 seconds after a punishing 42km race.
Majors comeback for de Rozario
The Tokyo 2020 winner was not planning on competing anymore in 2021 but the sudden reopening of the Australian borders changed her mind.
“I am really excited to race again. The marathon circuit is so different from anything else – I have definitely missed it over the last two years. I haven’t raced one of the major marathon events since October 2019, so it's definitely been a long time,” said De Rozario in the build-up to the NYC Marathon.
This year’s race will also see the comeback of spectators to one of the most memorable New York City events in the whole calendar year.
“The crowd is unreal. The entire atmosphere leading into the race is unreal. Race day is unparalleled. I am really looking forward to it,” concluded De Rozario.
Her biggest rival, the 36-year-old Schaer, had a memorable 2021 winning her first two Paralympic golds in the women’s 400m and 800m T54 races.
Despite her fine form in the World Marathon Majors, Schaer missed out on the biggest marathon prize of the year, the Tokyo 2020 gold medal.
In her first encounter with De Rozario after the Paralympics, Schaer will be eager to get the victory over one of her main rivals.
“New York is a challenging course and to win on a challenging course makes it even more special. I think it is really special because you race through different boroughs, and it feels like you are racing through different cities,” said Schaer.
“The vibes and the crowd are really different and it is amazing to witness that. It changes in a minute, and you feel like you are in a different place.”
Romanchuk ready to spoil the party for Hug
The men’s wheelchair race will also provide lots of excitement with Switzerland’s Marcel Hug as the top performer. The 35-year-old 'Swiss Silver Bullet' is a four-time Paralympic champion from Tokyo including a victory in the marathon race.
Hug also won three out of four World Marathon Majors this year in Berlin, London, and Boston. The USA’s Daniel Romanchuk took the only other Major in Chicago.
”This race has a pretty good start. I absolutely love climbing the Verrazzano and going through all the boroughs and finishing in Central Park. It is just an amazing course," said Romanchuk, the two-time NYC Marathon winner, and a Paralympics bronze medallist in the marathon from Tokyo.
Hug and Romanchuk will be accompanied in New York by the five-time race winner Kurt Fearnley from Australia, a 10-time Paralympic medallist David Weir from Great Britain, and Canada’s Brent Lakatos who won four silver medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Hug leads the World Marathon Majors rankings going into the last race of the season with 140 points, nine ahead second-placed Romanchuk.
The New York City Marathon starts on a Sunday morning at 8:00 am (local time) with the women’s and men’s professional wheelchair division races. They will be followed by the handcycle category and select athletes with disabilities. Their start of the race is scheduled for 8:22 am (local time).
Follow all the live action and results at the TCS New York City Marathon website.