Romanchuk wins the men’s elite wheelchair race
American Dan Romanchuk, Swiss Marcel Hug and Japan’s Tomoki Suzuki are battling it out in the men’s elite wheelchair race. Romanchuk used a divide in the road to blindside them, and at Birdcage Walk, the American has the race in his grasp. Hug tries to give chase, but can’t keep up. Suzuki is dropped, too, and Romanchuk, just 20, powers home. Hug takes second. It’s two minutes back to David Weir and the pack.
Sinead Diver continues to lead as she powers across the Thames with water bottle in hand, and is on pace for 2.22-2.23, which would be sensational for a 42-year-old. It seems unlikely that she will hold that pace. The famous four, defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot, New York winner Mary Keitany, Chicago champion Brigid Kosgei and Berlin winner Gladys Cherono are in no way being run out of this.
Mo Farah’s sat at the back of the pack, in the fashion he likes to run on the track. With his fashionable shades, headgear and a very colourful vest, you can’t miss him. And he is getting plenty of encouragement as he motors along.
Weather update, live from London. The sky continues to be grey, with shards of sun poking through the clouds. If the drizzle that came down yesterday holds off, then these are good conditions. It was very windy yesterday but thankfully, Storm Hannah has ebbed away. And it looks like Storm Ian, Ivor, Ieuan or the like won’t be coming today.
Kipchoge currently leads the men’s elite race, with Mo Farah a second back, after 15 minutes as they speed past a brass band. No move made, just yet and that may be while in coming.
Sinead Diver continues to lead the women’s race at around the ten-mile mark, being guided on by one of those Toon Army pacemakers. The main contenders are grouped together, with Charlotte Purdue, of GB, in touch with them. That’s unexpected, and points to later fireworks in the race. The three other pacemakers are setting off into the West End with barely a glance back at the rest.
In the men’s wheelchair race, Daniel Romanchuk has been caught by Marcel Hugen and Japan’s Suzuki. Francisco Sanclemente, the racer who had that early snafu with his mechanics, has just passed over Tower Bridge and he is being caught by other athletes from other races. He may as well just enjoy his day out.
The men’s pacemakers are clad in fetching black and white shirts that remind of Arthur Cox-era Newcastle United, as worn by Kevin Keegan, Chris Waddle and Kenny Wharton.
Joe Strummer ran these marathons with no training, said the publicity of the time. The word was he was fit enough from all the gigging and pogo-ing.
Of they go, to the sound of airhorns, and it’s a great sight to see the pack go off together. Mo Farah and Kipchoge are at close quarters. Hawkins is in there, too.
The men’s race is about to begin. The official starter is none other than Sir Andy Murray, who has been giving a positive word on his hip. Callum Hawkins gets a big cheer, but the noise is reserved for Farah, and Kipchoge receives a decent ovation, as well he might.
Sinead Diver is going for this one from the front as the women’s race heads north and heads past a bookies and a Budgens. The news on David Weir is that he is half a minute off the lead in the men’s wheelchair race.
In the elite men’s wheelchair race, it appears David Weir is not in touch with the leaders so his ninth win looks a distant prospect. Manuela Schar, going for a sweep of marathon majors, seems to have slowed a tad, but is still way ahead of any visible rivals. In fact, her rivals are invisible, if they actually exist at all.
Joe Argall emails in a salient point: “In relation to the prize money, surely the money is all in the appearance fee. How much would they get just for toeing the start line? I seem to remember Hawkins getting many thousands just for turning up to the London 10k a couple years back.”
That can run into high five and low six figures, I believe, but open to guidance here.
The women’s elite race has passed the half-hour mark now. Not much movement among the favourites, as they keep within eye- and earshot of each other.
Manuela Schar goes over that Tower Bridge section in the women’s elite wheelchair race and has blazed away from the field. Madison de Rozario, of Australia, is in second place, but literally in a different postcode of London.
The leaders of the women’s elite race are on about 2 hrs 20 minutes pace, as they are past the 4.5 mile mark. The elite men’s wheelchair race is whipping towards Tower Bridge and the Thames beckons, as there is a sprint section – with prize money of $10,000 – of 400m as they exit the bridge. They turn out on a tight turn and freewheel down, as they head in the general direction of Westminster. The prize is awarded for the quickest time, rather than the first over but Daniel Romanchuk, the actual leader, looks to have taken the lolly from Marcel Hug.
Simon McMahon emails in: “Morning, John. What I know about marathon running you could write on the back of a mobile phone, but Farah must at least have a fighting chance against Kipchoge? How much does the winner get? Sorry, but somebody had to, thought it might as well be me.”
£42,500 is the gold medal prize fund for both men and women, Simon….
It’s very cagey in the women’s elite race, where the favourites are idling, relatively so, as those pacemakers pile on. That suggests a tactical race, where a finishing kick may be called upon. Ireland’s Sinead Diver, trying to win the race at 42, is prominent. Diver, a resident of Melbourne, Australia, holds the fastest ever time for an over 40-year-old for the half marathon.
In the women’s elite wheelchair race, Manuela Schär, the winner of this year’s Boston Marathon, has dropped the rest of the field already. It looks like she is chasing a time rather than a medal.
South London looking resplendent, the women pacemakers less so as they set off at a frightening lick that has left the pack behind. Three of them have rattled away and the main field has not responded.
The women’s elite race is just about to go, with the big favourites at the front, with Mary Keitany, who lost out when going for the world record last year, having won in 2017, and Vivian Cheryuiot, also of Kenya and last year’s winner, leading them off. Brigid Kosgei and Gladys Cherono, both also from Kenya, have won in Chicago and Berlin and are the other fancies. And off they go, with the four pacemakers going to the left, as they depart Blackheath.
The men’s elite wheelchair race has got off to a very odd start. Briton David Weir is going for his ninth win in the event and up with the pack in the early stages, but the big story is that the Colombian athlete Francisco Sanclemente has had a nightmare. He went nowhere from the gun as his wheelchair had stopped working. Some frantic repairs going on to the wheels but nothing works, to paraphrase Catweazle, and his race ends before it can begin.
Sean Ingle spoke to Callum Hawkins, the great Caledonian hope in this race.
The sun is out, and the clouds are only a little greying. If the rain stays away, this would be the perfect conditions to run in. What are we looking for here? Well, Mo Farah has given us all a storyline to follow with his ultra-public spat with Haile Gebrselassie. He will have to put that behind him as he pads the streets of his home town, as he is running up against an all-time great in Eliud Kipchoge, the world record holder, who has won 11 of 12 marathons. No pressure, Mo, but then again, he doesn’t like the quiet life much, does he?
With an excellent field in the women’s race and all the fun of the fun runners, it promises to be an excellent 38th London Marathon.