David Weir (coach: Jenny Archer) narrowly missed out on another world title as the six-time Paralympic champion finished second at the IPC World Championships Marathon, which was held at the Virgin Money London Marathon today.
Weir, who was aiming for a record-breaking seventh victory on the London circuit, was edged into the silver medal position by USA’s Joshua George in a hotly contested sprint finish. Two of Weir’s main rivals, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and Canada’s Josh Cassidy, both suffered punctures during the race and the 35 year old himself had to battle equipment malfunction.
“I’m a bit gutted, but it’s more my equipment than anything. My glove fell apart at about 16 miles and the material I was using for the rain came unstuck and I had to change my technique slightly pushing more with my knuckles than I usually do. I think that tired me out a little bit but I felt alright up until the end, but I just didn’t have anything there because of the grip. That’s racing, things happen. You get punctures, gloves can come apart and that sometimes what happens,” explained Weir, who will be looking to add more Paralympic glory to his name in 500 days’ time in Rio.
“I’m not going to take anything away from Josh (George) because he was strong all through the race. I knew he was going to be a strong sprinter at the end because that’s what he used to do on the track.”
It was an emotional farewell to competitive marathon running for Paula Radcliffe, who finished in 2:36.55. The 41 year old, who set the women’s world record on the course back in 2003 showed the grit and determination that has followed her throughout her distinguished career.
Afterwards Radcliffe said: “I knew it would be emotional and it was so emotional. I nearly lost it at Bird Cage walk but the crowds bowled me over, I wanted it to last forever.
“I came in underprepared – I know I set out too fast but I just wanted to savour it and enjoy it. It was so special and I’m going to really miss it. I’ve been so lucky to have a career that is also my hobby. This is not the end; I will still be out running, but not competitively.”
In the elite men’s race, Scott Overall completed the 26.2 mile course in 2:13.13 for a 13th place finish, while Matty Hynes (Stan Markley) was the second British athlete to finish in 2:16.00.
Sonia Samuels (self-coached) finished as the leading British athlete in the elite women’s race. The 36 year old finished in 2:31.46 to cross in 16th place, with Emma Stepto (Alan Rowling) and Rebecca Robinson in 18th and 19th place respectively
On his international debut Derek Rae (Ron Morrison) was fifth in the IPC World Championships T45/46 marathon taking over four minutes off his personal best, crossing the line in 2:40.40. Rob Smith (Job King) competing in the T51/52 class, finished just outside the medals in fourth place with a 2:12.43 performance, while Simon Lawson (Ian Thompson) finished in ninth place in the men’s T53/54 marathon.
Jade Jones (Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson) and Shelly Woods (Archer) were both forced to withdraw from women’s wheelchair race, with leg pain and a slow puncture respectively leaving them unable to complete the course.
For full results from the Virgin Money London Marathon, please visit: https://results-2015.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/2015/