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McFadden Wins 3rd Straight Boston Wheelchair Title

McFadden Wins Third Straight Boston; Third Time‰Ûªs a Charm for Hug

 

By Jean Cann

 

On the 40th
Anniversary of Bob Hall‰Ûªs pioneering race to become the first athlete
to officially complete the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair, 50 push-rim
wheelchair participants completed the 119th
Boston Marathon. Top finishers divided a prize purse of $84,500, provided by principal sponsor John Hancock Financial Services.

 

A short
rain shower wet the roads before the start, but the fast finishers
avoided later heavy rainfall in Boston. A pesky headwind slowed times,
but didn‰Ûªt impede competition. Switzerland‰Ûªs Marcel Hug found a formula
that worked to defeat 10-time champion Ernst van Dyk and the rest of
the field, taking first in 1:29:53. American Tatyana McFadden won her
third straight Boston in 1:52:54.

 

Hug
crafted a commanding win this year after finishing fourth in 2012 and
2013. ‰ÛÏIt was most important for me to have a good downhill,‰Û said the
29-year-old. ‰ÛÏI know that Ernst is strong in downhill so I tried to be
really strong today and attacking.‰Û

 

Taking
the lead by 10 miles, Hug continued to pull away from a field that
included four past champions, including van Dyk (RSA), Masazumi Soejima
(JPN), Hiroyuki Yamamoto (JPN), and course record holder Josh Cassidy
(CAN). Before the Newton Hills, Hug led by more than a minute. The lead
would ultimately grow to seven minutes and 20 seconds by the finish. ‰ÛÏI
feel great,‰Û said the champion. ‰ÛÏI am happy. To win here is really
special and I am proud to win this historic race.‰Û

 

Hug‰Ûªs
chasers worked together to try to catch him, but it was each man for
himself in the sprint down Boylston Street. Defending champion van Dyk
took second in 1:36:27, with Soejima third in 1:36:28, and Kota
Hokinoue (JPN) fourth in 1:36:28. ‰ÛÏMasazumi, Kota, and I tried to chase
Marcel and close the gap,‰Û said van Dyk. ‰ÛÏBut there was a point when we
knew that wasn‰Ûªt going to happen. At the end, Kota made the first move
and I had to counter that. I was hurting a lot over those last few
miles, but I knew I couldn‰Ûªt slow down, because if I did, they‰Ûªd catch
me.‰Û

 

Tomasz
Hamerlak of Poland and American Joshua George took fifth and sixth,
respectively, in another tight finish in 1:38:14 and 1:38:15. Yamamoto
finished seventh in 1:39:36, with James Senbetta, Jordi Madera Jimenez,
and Laurens Molina cracking the top ten in 1:40:56, 1:41:40, and
1:42:42.

 

Tatyana
McFadden, who has dominated Abbott World Marathon Major races for more
than two years with wins in 2013 and 2014 at Boston, London, Chicago,
and New York, kept her streak alive with another Boston win. Her race
this year played out much like her win at Boston last year when she
reeled in a fast-starting Wakako Tsuchida. ‰ÛÏI knew from the very
beginning that I have to go against strong sprinters like Tatyana and
Susannah,‰Û said Tsuchida, five time Boston champion and course record
holder (1:34:06).

 

To catch
Tsuchida, McFadden worked with her University of Illinois teammate
Susannah Scaroni, and Amanda McGrory. The defending champion, who
compared herself to a grandma on downhills, kept the pace uphill while
Scaroni and McGrory took turns on flat stretches. By 15k, McFadden left
the others and passed Tsuchida for good. She amassed a
minute-and-a-half lead by the 18-mile-mark in the Newton hills.
Tsuchida closed the gap but never came within a minute until just
before the finish. McFadden crossed the line in 1:52:54 with Tsuchida
next in 1:53:48. ‰ÛÏIt was an absolutely incredible day,‰Û said McFadden,
who dedicated her race and gave her laurel wreath to the Richard
family, who lost 8-year-old Martin in 2013. ‰ÛÏThe weather cleared up. It
wasn‰Ûªt too chilly, but there was definitely a headwind. It was the 40th anniversary, so to be an American up there on the podium, I couldn‰Ûªt have asked for a better day.‰Û

 

Scaroni
and McGrory, both from the US, finished together in 1:57:21, with
Scaroni third for the second-straight year, and McGrory fourth. 2012
Paralympic Games bronze medalist Sandra Graf, of Switzerland, took
fifth in 1:59:18, with Paralympic marathon silver medalist Shelly Woods
(GBR) making her Boston debut in sixth (2:05:14).

 

In
addition to winning monetary prizes for top finishes at Boston,
wheelchair athletes will be able to compete for an additional prize
purse from the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) starting with the
2016 Boston Marathon. A male and female winner will be determined based
on scoring at the Boston, Virgin Money London, Tokyo, BMW Berlin, Bank
of America Chicago, and TCS New York City Marathons, and each winning
athlete will earn $50,000.

 

‰ÛÏI think
that the sport is definitely growing and for the better,‰Û said
McFadden. ‰ÛÏNow the wheelchair is part of the Abbott World Marathon
Majors series it changes everything. It makes it better, stronger, and
faster, and it will keep on growing. I‰Ûªm so honored to come home with
another win as part of it.‰Û

 

About the
AWMM, veteran competitor van Dyk said, ‰ÛÏBasically it means that we‰Ûªre
going to have five marathons every year where the standards will be
very high and the reward will be a couple of guys who can do this
full-time and make a living out of it.

 

‰ÛÏWe all
know Boston does a good job. London does a good job. New York does a
good job too. I think we‰Ûªve already seen it the last two to three years
with the London-Boston challenge. We‰Ûªve seen a huge growth in the field
in Boston and in London. Adding Berlin and Tokyo and giving it an
ultimate prize will make a lot more guys commit to it.‰Û

 

About the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)
Established in 1887,
the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a
mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially
running. The B.A.A.‰Ûªs Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual
marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports
comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since
1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John
Hancock Financial. The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World
Marathon Majors, along with the international marathons in Tokyo,
London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. More than 60,000 runners
will participate in B.A.A. events in 2015. The 119th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April
20, 2015. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit

www.baa.org
.

 

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