David Weir, Joshua George, Tatyana McFadden and Shelly Woods among athletes set to compete at the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup in April
After their world title wins in London last year, USA’s Joshua George and Tatyana McFadden will return to the British capital to defend their Virgin Money London Marathon crowns in April, while Britain’s David Weir will go for a record seventh win.
George beat Weir by one second in the 2015 event, while McFadden completed a US double and her own London Marathon hat-trick in the women’s race with her third course record in three years.
The IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup returns on April 24 and there are also points to be won as the London Marathon races become part of the first ever Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series.
“It was a great battle with Dave last year,” said George. “He is such a favourite on home soil and it was fantastic to finally beat him and win such a prestigious race. I am training hard to be in top form again by April and I’m really looking forward to another great clash in London.”
Weir was hampered by a glove problem which reduced his pushing power 12 months ago and the goal of a record seventh title remains the 36-year-old’s driving ambition.
“I said last year I will keep coming back until I get the record, and that’s what I intend to do,” said Weir. “It’s getting harder because everyone’s out to beat me and I’m not getting any younger, but with a bit of luck and a lot of hard training I’ll be back on top this year.”
Switzerland’s multiple world champion Marcel Hug will hope to be back to his best too after dropping out last year with a puncture just six days after winning the Boston title. It won’t be a three-man race, however, for the elite men’s line-up of 24 athletes is packed with champions and record-breakers. Canada’s 2010 London champion Josh Cassidy, Australian course record-holder Kurt Fearnley and South Africa’s 10-time Boston Marathon winner Ernst van Dyk are also among those entered.
McFadden, who has dominated women’s wheelchair racing in recent years and in 2015 completed the ‘grand slam’ of Boston, London, Chicago and New York marathons for the third successive year, will again be an overwhelming favourite to take the women’s title.
Among her opponents will be two-time London Marathon champion Amanda McGrory and Susannah Scaroni, who was fifth last year. Paralympic bronze medallist Sandra Graf aims to repeat her 2008 victory, while her Swiss colleague Manuela Schär may well be McFadden’s closest challenger.
Shelly Woods is Britain’s big hope for a podium place and she will be joined by Jade Jones, the 20-year-old three-time Mini London Marathon winner.
The other IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup races in London feature world and Paralympic champions and entry lists for all events are due to be released later this month.
“The London Marathon has been at the forefront of efforts to develop elite marathon events for wheelchair athletes for more than 30 years and this year’s fields prove that they are still going from strength to strength,” said Virgin Money London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher.
“We are delighted to be hosting the World Cup again in 2016, headlined, of course, by our always exciting elite wheelchair races.”
2016 Virgin Money London Marathon T53/54 wheelchair races
Joshua George (USA) 1:22:50
Josh Cassidy (CAN) 1:18:25
Ernst van Dyk (RSA) 1:18:27
Masazumi Soejima (JPN) 1:18:50
Kurt Fearnley (AUS) 1:18:51
Heinz Frei (SUI) 1:20:14
Marcel Hug (SUI) 1:20:52
Kota Hokinoue (JPN) 1:20:52
Rafael Botello Jimenez (ESP) 1:22:18
Denis Lemeunier (FRA) 1:22:31
Aaron Pike (USA) 1:22:55
Michel Filteau (CAN) 1:23:02
Hiroyuki Yamamoto (JPN) 1:23:16
Jordi Madera Jimenez (ESP) 1:23:26
James Senbeta (USA) 1:25:23
David Weir (GBR) 1:27:46
Pierre Fairbank (FRA) 1:28:59
Hong Sukman (KOR) 1:29:13
Molina Lourens (CRC) 1:30:00
Simon Lawson (GBR) 1:30:58
Jose Jiménez Hernández (CRC) 1:31:36
Liu Chengming (CHN) 1:31:54
Brian Siemann (USA) 1:35:00
Tatyana McFadden (USA) 1:35:06
Wakako Tsuchida (JPN) 1:34:06
Sandra Graf (SUI) 1:35:44
Amanda McGrory (USA) 1:36:39
Shelly Woods (GBR) 1:37:44
Manuela Schär (SUI) 1:38:07
Susannah Scaroni (USA) 1:38:33
Diane Roy (CAN) 1:40:09
Chelsea McClammer (USA) 1:45:55
Christie Dawes (AUS) 1:47:04
NatalyiaKocherova (RUS) 1:49:00
Ma Jing (CHN) 1:49:10
Jade Jones (GBR) 1:59:59