Hug and McFadden to defend London Marathon Wheelchair Titles

The world’s richest wheelchair marathon returns to the streets of London on Sunday 23 April when two of the greatest wheelchair racers ever seen defend their Virgin Money London Marathon titles against the largest elite fields in the history of the event and Switzerland’s ‘Silver Bullet’ Marcel Hug and USA’s ‘Queen of the Roads’ Tatyana McFadden will be outstanding favourites to win.

Hug has dominated the men’s contest in the inaugural Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series over the last 12 months. He will be seeking his third London Marathon victory after edging out Australia’s course record-holder Kurt Fearnley and Britain’s six-time winner David Weir last April.

McFadden is aiming for a record fifth straight women’s crown, a feat never achieved before in any London Marathon elite race – men’s, women’s or wheelchair. She won all but one of the five World Marathon Majors races she entered in Series X, completing the quadruple of Boston, London, Chicago and New York victories for the fourth year in a row.

Hug’s victory last year came just six days after winning the Boston Marathon and the 31-year-old has been unbeatable over 26.2 miles ever since, winning six out of six World Marathon Majors races including the Paralympic Games gold medal in Rio last September. Hug said;

It’s been an incredible year for me which all started with my wins in Boston and London last April. The Virgin Money London Marathon is the biggest race in the world and I’d love to win for a third time. It’s never easy though. Anything can happen in wheelchair racing and the field this year is stronger than ever.”

Hug’s closest rival in recent races has been Fearnley, the 2009 and 2013 London winner, and the two-time Paralympic champion is likely to be the Swiss man’s main challenger again.

South Africa’s 10-time Boston Marathon winner Ernst van Dyk will also be in the hunt. He is looking for his first London Marathon victory on his 12th appearance here.

That’s almost as many as Weir, Britain’s hero of the London 2012 Paralympics who is still striving for a record seventh win at the event that’s closest to his heart. Weir won his first London Marathon in 2002 and his sixth 10 years later, but he has had to settle for second, second and third on the last three attempts.

The full entry lists for all wheelchair and World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup races are available on the website here


About Ian Humphreys