"Today was an amazing atmosphere, running across London Bridge on my own, and all that noise. It was an amazing buzz and reminded me of when I won the 200m at the Games last year."
Great Britain’s Paralympic sprint champion Richard Whitehead soaked up the support of the London crowds on Sunday 21 April as he raced in the first of the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup events, introduced this year as part of the Virgin London Marathon race-day programme.
Whitehead, the sole competitor in the T42 classification, received rapturous applaud as he made his way round the 26.2 miles, a fair change from seven months ago when he sprinted to Paralympic 200m T42 gold in under 25 seconds, setting a new world record in the process.
Crossing the finish line at the London marathon in 03:15:53, over half an hour longer than his personal best set in Chicago three years ago, he told BBC Sport: “Today was an amazing atmosphere, running across London Bridge on my own, and all that noise. It was an amazing buzz and reminded me of when I won the 200m at the Games last year.
“I wanted to enjoy [the race] and I’m sure my coach Liz Yelling wanted me back safe, so I got up to half way and checked my watch and thought yes, I’m safe.”
Italy’s Alessandro Di Lello took gold in the T44-46 race, finishing in 02:32:06, one minute slower than his personal best set at the New York marathon in 2009, but exactly six minutes head of Spaniard Jose Antonio Castilla who took silver. World bronze medallist Ozivam Bonfim finished third once again.
In the T11-13 classification, it was joy for the north Africans, as Morocco’s El Amin Chentouf took gold in 02:24:00, with Paralympic bronze medallist Abderrahim Zhiou of Tunisia finishing just over four minutes later to take silver. Bronze went to Gabriel Macchi of Portugal.
There were only two finishers in the women’s T11-13 race, with Maria Carman Paredes Garcia stopping the clock at 03:17:10 to take gold ahead of Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt.