As the men or women’s elite runners jostled their way through Brooklyn, a sprint to the finish was under way in Central Park in the wheelchair division of the New York City Marathon.
David Weir of Britain (pictured) held off Masazumi Soejima of Japan in an exciting uphill battle through the park in one of the closest finishes in the 11-year history of the race. Weir finished at 1 hour 37 minutes 29 seconds, Soejima at 1:37:31.
The two-second gap topped the three-second differential set in 2004. Last year’s race ended in a dead heat.
Weir and Soejima were neck-and-neck throughout the course, with Soejima never more than a few seconds behind.
“I knew Soejima is a good coaster downhill, so I knew I’d have to wait and wait and wait,” Weir said. “My arms were so heavy, I didn’t think I’d get to the finish line.”
Both wheelers held off Kurt Fearnley of Australia, who had won the last four races and set the course record in 2006. Fearnley finished at 1:38:44. Krige Schabort, who finished second in 2009 and has won the race in 2002 and 2002, finished fourth.
Weir, who finished eight minutes off the course record, won $15,000. Soejima received $12,000 for finishing second, while Fearnley won $10,000 as the third-place finisher.
Weir and Soejima each won an extra time bonus $1,000 for breaking 1:38:00.
Weir, a three-time world champion, was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire last year.
In the women’s division, Tatyana McFadden won her first race in New York in 2:02:22. McFadden’s time was about 10 minutes off the course record, but was nearly 6 minutes faster than her sixth-place finish in the race last year.
Christina Ripp of Colorado finished second at 2:08:05.
“This course is hard,” McFadden said, adding that she wanted to give up by the time she reached the Queensboro Bridge.
“But the support from the fans, from the crowds at each mile, definitely put me back together,” she said.
McFadden, 21, was born with spina bifida and left at a Russian orphanage. Adopted by an American family, she attended the University of Illinois, where she was on the wheelchair basketball and track teams.
McFadden gained national attention when she led a movement to pass the Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act, which the Maryland legislature passed in 2008 to ensure students with disabilities had equal opportunities to participate. Before the law was passed, she was forced to compete by herself at track and field meets.
In addition to winning $15,000 for finishing first, McFadden won an additional $500 for breaking 2:05:00.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The NY Times:
Posted by BA Haller at 8:27 PM