David Weir eyeing record seventh Virgin London Marathon title in April
David Weir and Shelly Woods will be back to defend their wheelchair titles at the Virgin London Marathon on April 21.
Weir, who equalled Tanni Grey-Thompson’s record of six London Marathon wins in 2012, said: “Winning a seventh London Marathon would be up there with all my Paralympic titles. I don’t really want to stop when I’m equal with anyone; I’d like to be the main man, to get seven titles.
“It was my dream when I was young to win the London Marathon. It was the one race that I most wanted to win in my career. Now I’ve done it six times, and I never get bored of it.”
It was in the marathon that Weir won the final of his four Paralympic golds in London and the two other medallists from that race, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and Australia’s Kurt Fearnley, will also returning to the streets of the capital.
Also in the field is nine-time Boston Marathon winner Ernst van Dyke, world record-holder Heinz Frei and Canadian Josh Cassidy.
Woods, the silver medallist from London 2012, will be seeking her third London title and takes on the other two podium finishes from the Paralympics – winner Shirley Reilly and Sandra Graf.
Five-time Boston Marathon winner Wakako Tsuchida, double London Marathon champion Amanda McGrory and two-time Chicago winner Tatyana McFadden will also be among the favourites.
This year an additional US$35,000 in prize money is being offered to athletes who compete in both the Boston (April 15) and London Marathon wheelchair races.
The Boston-London Wheelchair Challenge will award prizes based on the top three men and women across both races, which are six days apart. The winning athlete will receive $10,000 with $5000 going to second and $2,500 to third.
The Virgin London Marathon also includes for the first time the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup for Paralympic categories T11, T12, T13, T42 and T46.
In the T11, T12 and T13 visual impairment classes, Columbia’s Elkin Alonso Semma Moreno is the fastest entrant with a PB of 2:26:39.
Meanwhile, Paralympic T42 200m champion Richard Whitehead returns to his distance running routes and takes on athletes in the T46 class, five of whom have run quicker than his PB of 2:42:52.