Men’s Wheelchair Report: Roaring Weir wins wonderful eighth
David Weir celebrated his eighth men’s wheelchair title at the Virgin Money London Marathon today, clocking 1:31:15 after an awesome sprint ahead of Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and American Daniel Romanchuk.
After winning a record seventh London Marathon last year, Weir again proved an unstoppable force in the capital, as he repeated 2017’s unforgettable finish. With three athletes challenging for the crown, Weir edged forward down The Mall and moved in front of Hug and Romanchuk with the ribbon in sight to seal his eighth victory from 19 London Marathon races.
Since that memorable moment last year, Weir has taken part in a few half marathons and last week suffered a puncture in the Paris Marathon. But lining up today, the 38-year-old felt ready to take on the world’s best.
“The win feels amazing”, Weir said. “Last year was such a weird year. I couldn’t really celebrate until after and I didn’t know what state of mind I would be in. My head was a lot clearer this year.”
The weather was perfect for the athletes on the start at Blackheath. Many had endured the difficult conditions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, including double London winner Hug, who triumphed on Monday and was hoping complete a London treble.
But the field was packed with world-class athletes, including the 2015 winner, Joshua George from USA, and 2009 and 2013 winner Kurt Fearnley from Australia, the course record holder and newly-crowned Commonwealth Games champion.
The race became a competition between established and new talent as a pack of nine stuck together for most of the course. Right from the start it became clear tactics would play a part over the final miles.
They scorched through halfway on course record pace but slowed in the second half before a small group broke away turning into The Mall. The finish was almost a carbon copy of 2017 as Hug was pipped on the line, clocking the same time as Weir.
“Right now, I feel very tired but I’m quite satisfied with my race”, said Hug. “I tried everything to gain the lead out on the course but I couldn’t pull it off.
“I made a mistake with my position coming down The Mall and couldn’t get through. I made the same mistake a few years ago too.”
Hug’s compensation is to be crowned Abbott World Marathon Majors wheelchair champion for the second time.
“I’m happy to be on the podium,” Hug continued. “The secret to consistency is nothing more than training and I really hope to take part in the Abbott Series next year.”
Romanchuk was just a second behind the big two, again showing he will be an athlete to watch in the future after also finishing third in Boston six days ago. It was a huge improvement on his 26th place last year and afterwards Weir called him the “Marcel of the future”.
“Coming in on the home stretch, I saw the London Eye and knew we were close to the two turns towards the finish so I decided to push through and excel,” the 20-year-old said.
“I didn’t look back too much. I realised I’d broken from the pack a little bit, but they caught me up. Then I started to fade but I thought that that was my best chance to win the race. I really hope to be back in London next year.”
Weir is taking one race at a time after marking his 19th London Marathon appearance in a row. Now, he wants to reach the 20-race milestone and put his victory tally in double figures.
“The older I get, my endurance is getting better,” he said. “At the beginning when I used to do marathons my endurance was rubbish, so I’m keeping the speed and gaining a bit more endurance base.
“I know what I’m capable of. I’m going to do the rest of the marathons in the autumn and race the guys. It starts again in Berlin so I’ve got a good chance.”