09 September 2012
On the final day’s athletics, there were massive crowds out on the street as the Paralympic Marathon got underway and Britain added two medals as they won their 11th gold and 29th medal in athletics.
David Weir (Jenny Archer) sensationally made it four gold medals when he sprinted to victory in the Mall to add the marathon gold to the 800m, 1500m and 5000m titles he won on the track. Always in the leading group, but usually sitting it, he made his move late on and led into the Mall and powered home.
Australian Kurt Fearnley was his nearest challenger as he hit the finishing straight but it was Marcel Hug of Switzerland who took second. Weir’s time was 1:30:21 and he won by a second from Hug.
Though he has won the London Marathon six times, this is his first Paralympic marathon.
He said, “The support was amazing all the way through. The first six miles were the hardest and felt I had no energy and I thought if they keep this speed up I’m going to die but then I blocked it all out and thought all of the training. I have done sprints 10 miles out, 20 miles out and see how long I could hold it and in training I’ve done three minutes but I didn’t know how my body would react with the pressure and the other races. Kurt and Marcel were talking and working together but it doesn’t bother me."
As to why he didn’t smile at the end he said, “I didn’t know where the line was at the end so wasn’t sure I had finished.”
Shelly Woods (Peter Eriksson) hasn’t enjoyed the success she had in Beijing where she won two medals and this time was medalless after contesting the 800m, 1500m and 5000m on the track but she had a sensational finale to the Games by taking the silver medal in another keenly contested sprint finish in the womnen’s event.
She was in the leading group at halfway in 52:18 and while she couldn’t quite go with the early kick of American Shirley Reilly, she kicked away from Sandra Graf and Amanda McGrory and her time of 1:46:34 left her a second down on the winner and one second up on her other two medal contenders
Fourth in Beijing, adelighted Woods said, “I can’t describe how great it feels. It was the hardest marathon I’ve ever done and it’s the hardest week. The girls were better tactically on the track but my top spoeed is goodf and I got it right in the marathon. A silver in London is unbelievable in the toughest field I’ve ever faced.
It was an eventful race and i tried to break and it didn’t work so I decided to sit in. After 26 miles it hurts like crazy to sprint but it’s worth it. it’s fantastic.
Throughout the whole course, the crowd were lined throughout I could hear ;come on Shelley' and it lifts you but it was a tough race.”