Last Sunday, the seven main leaders found a competitive pace together during the majority of the Flora London Marathon Wheelchair competition. The winner of the race, David Weir from Great Britain, exploded ahead of the other six in the last 400 metres.
Finishing at 1:33:56, Weir found himself with a third title in succession from the London Marathon and fourth altogether. He said he feels comfortable and always in the right motivation mode for this particular competition.
“The London course suits me and I am always glad if I am there or thereabouts at the finish because I know I have a good burst of speed,” Weir said.
The other six closely behind Weir included Denis Lemeunier (FRA), Krige Schabort and Ernst Van Dyk (RSA), Heinz Frei (SUI), Joshua George (USA) and Kurt Fearnley (AUS), who finished second behind Weir, with a time of 1:34:00.
In the women’s competition, London newcomer Sandra Graf of Switzerland finished about four minutes ahead of Amanda McGrory (USA) with 1:48:04. Graf is making her name known as a racer, completing the course with an impressive record breaking time. She is also the first Swiss woman to finish in first place.
Graf said after the race: “It was a slow start which I liked, but at 10km I decided to go faster.”
The race unfortunately had one major crash in the men’s competition. With only about one hundred metres left, Ernst Van Dyk and Joshua George’s wheels clashed into one another and lead them into the crowd, crashing into the people next to the stands. No one was injured and the two racers still managed to finish in sixth and seventh places.
The Men and Women’s London Marathon Wheelchair Competition is an annual event which began in 1983. Since then, the crowd has gotten larger, the media greater, and the winning times even more competitive. The contest this year will most definitely be seen as the race with seven incredibly close finishing times.