Dominant Schär smashes London record
Swiss star Manuela Schär produced her second devastating display of wheelchair racing in six days this morning to win her first London Marathon title in a course record.
The 32-year-old won the Boston Marathon in the fastest wheelchair time in history last Monday and today clocked 1:39:57 to knock almost two minutes off Tatyana McFadden’s best-ever London time.
Schar began the race as favourite after four-time winner McFadden withdrew through illness this week. She has been runner-up to the American for the last three years but today broke free from the field in the second half of the race.
“It’s incredible,” said an ecstatic Schär afterwards. “It’s been such a great week with Boston and London. I have no words.
“I never expected a course record, so that’s great. I just attacked at the hills and I was able to break away.
“I’m going to focus on the track and I’ll be back for the World Championships in London.”
She finished almost four minutes faster than second-placed Amanda McGrory, who clocked 1:44:34.
The American won Tokyo earlier this year ahead of her Swiss rival, but and was second in Boston earliler this week. The 30-year-old won and was a bronze medallist at the Rio Paralympics.
“I am really happy with my time and I think it’s extremely close to a PB,” said McGrory, who won the London crown in 2009 and 2011. “I’m a little bit disappointed not to hang on to Manuela, but my biggest aim this year was to crack the podium and I’ve done that now.
“The crowd was amazing. Since the 2012 Paralympics, there’s been a big push for Paralympic sports. The World Marathon Majors have done big things for wheelchair racing.”
McGrory’s University of Illinois teammate, Susannah Scaroni, was third in 1:47:37.
Britain’s Jade Jones was pleased to improve on her recent London Marathon performances, finishing fifth in 1:51:46, while Mel Nicholls was eighth in 1:59:07.