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David Weir at The 40th Race

News

13-08-2021
6

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Weir ready for his favourite race

The past 18 months have been tough at times, particularly the last lockdown here in the UK. We didn’t know what was going on then and it was the middle of winter, a time when usually I would use the London Marathon to motivate me through training sessions.

David Weir

Eight-time London Marathon champion

Weir’s support group includes his partner Victoria, who he has moved down to Hastings in East Sussex to be with and, of course, his long-term coach Jenny Archer.

“Jenny has been a massive influence on me over the years,” said Weir. “She has put the trust in my training since I’ve moved down to Hastings and it seems to be working really, really well. I just feel in a better head space and I’m focusing on the latter years of my career. I keep putting a date in my head to retire, but every winter I seem to get a bit stronger and a bit wiser. You would think I’d be getting a bit slower too, but that’s not happening.”

Weir feels so good that he is relishing this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and, indeed, the whole Abbott World Marathon Majors Series that will feature races in Berlin, London, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and New York over an exhilarating six-week period. Not to mention the small matter of the Paralympic Games, which will precede the Series and begin at the end of this month [August].

Weir said: “The Abbott World Marathon Majors series is going to be fast and intense and, for me, the Paralympics will actually be the warm-up, which is strange to say to be honest. But it’s going to be so competitive because there are a lot of guys pushing really well, and some who haven’t even been selected by their national federations for Tokyo who are going to be desperate to prove a point. It is going to be the toughest run of competitions I’ve experienced and I think all the races will go right to the nail.

“We’ve all missed the racing. People just want to do what they do. For a lot of the guys, racing is their life and they have been really missing it.”


We’ve all missed the racing. People just want to do what they do. For a lot of the guys, racing is their life and they have been really missing it.

David Weir

Eight-time London Marathon champion

Although Weir is looking ahead in anticipation at the battles on the horizon, it is the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October that is, and will always be, his primary focus.

As a Londoner who came up through the ranks of the Mini Marathon, racing on his home roads is something special. Being the most decorated athlete in London Marathon history is also something of a pull… you would think!

“Records are not something I think of, to be honest,” he said. “Sometimes I forget myself how many races I’ve won or how many medals I have. It’s only when I’m Googling something and it comes up that I think ‘oh yeah, I remember that’!

“But for me London is the race. When I tell people how many I’ve done in a row, they usually say ‘what, you’ve done that many?’ or ‘you don’t look old enough to have done that many’, which isn’t too bad! But the most common one is ‘don’t you get bored of it?’. And the answer to that is no. No I don’t and I will never get bored of the London Marathon.


“I’ve won it eight times and it just means so much to me every year, and I’ll keep doing it for as long as I feel I can compete in the top tier of the division. I have friends who come and stand at the same point on the route every year and have the spectators shouting my name. I can’t wait to experience that again after missing it last year [when the elite races were moved to a lapped circuit around St James’s Park].”

Weir, who finished second behind Brent Lakatos at last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, added: “I’m so glad it didn’t get cancelled last year even though it was strange going round and round in a circle for 26 miles, but at least we had a race on and I was so grateful to the London Marathon for that.

“But it was a bit eerie last year to have no one cheering you on, except the London Marathon staff. So I’m really looking forward to racing on the traditional route again and the other guys are too. I’m speaking not just for me but for everyone when I say we have missed it. That buzz of racing on the streets around the world is incredible and we can’t wait to get back to some sort of normality and get back to racing, not just in London but the rest of the series.”

First though Weir has the small matter of the Paralympics to concentrate on, when he will be returning to the track for the first time since the Rio Games to race in the 800m and 5,000m before racing in the marathon.

“I don’t think there’s pressure on me to do well on the track at the Paralympics,” said Weir. “The London Paralympics [where Weir won four gold medals] was 10 years ago next year, so I don’t know what will happen. But I will do my best.”