22nd April 2018
GOLDEN PARA TRIO TAKE VICTORIES IN VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON
Derek Rae (coach: Ron Morrison) secured an impressive victory in the Virgin Money London Marathon men’s World Para Athletics Marathon Cup T45/46 classification while David Weir (Jenny Archer) and Rob Smith (Job King) followed suit with wins of their own.
The Scot was in the lead at each of the splits over the course of the 26.2 miles, powering to victory in 2:36:13 hours, just under three minutes outside the time he recorded last year.
Rae won bronze at the London Marathon in 2017 and was delighted to be able to better last year’s result. He said: “The most important thing is to come away with a win. It became quite tough in the final 10km but to come away with first position is the stuff dreams are made of.
“It’s what all the hard work has been for and I’m exceptionally proud. My wife has been a massive support for me and I’d like to dedicate this to her. I opened up a gap and kept my foot down and the gap I created benefited me in the end.
“There’s a couple of points where you come back on yourself and I looked back then and there was no sign of anyone. Now I’ll have a rest and have a sit down with the support team and plan for the second half of the season. There’s no marathon [at the European Championships] in Berlin so I’ll look at what I can do and go from there.”
Like Rae, Smith (Job King) also secured Para Athletics Marathon Cup gold in the men’s T51/52 class in 2:00:17.
Smith was locked in a battle with Colombia’s Cristian Torres throughout the race and found himself trailing by 24 seconds after 35km but found an extra gear in the closing stages to pass his rival and power to victory.
“I am really pleased with that. Cristian and I were swapping places all the way. Every time it got to a hill, he had the strength to power ahead of me but on the flat I would pull it back and go into the lead,” said Smith.
“I caught him after about 24.5 miles and I kept going and didn’t let him get on the back of me. I put my head down and I am so pleased to get the win on that. It was my fastest time in London and I am really happy with that, it was a good race.
“I have a few 10km and half marathons dotted around now and then I will go onto the track to get and get times for Europeans, which will be in the 1500m.”
David Weir (Jenny Archer) took his eighth London Marathon victory in a dramatic three-way sprint finish in the capital in the T53/54 event,
Weir was in the leading group consisting of himself, Marcel Hug (Switzerland), and Daniel Romanchuk (USA) among others for the entire race and made his move on the home straight.
He moved to the right-hand side of Hug and powered through to victory. JohnBoy Smith (Archer) was the next highest placed Brit in 11th in 1:33:24 with Simon Lawson (Ian Thompson) 13th in 1:33:36.
Weir said: “That one was sweet. The end was tougher than last year, mentally and physically I felt better coming into this and I was a bit nervous at the start but I’m really happy this year. Last year I was in a different state of mind and couldn’t really celebrate.
“I had a lot of time out and there was a lot of deep thinking to do, but I still felt I had a lot more to give after I won last year. I needed a break and now I can concentrate on one event I feel a lot stronger.
“There were a lot of guys who were just so strong today, it was really hard to nail who was going to be at the end. I couldn’t pick.
“Last year I had a bit of a guess, but this year I couldn’t pick. Daniel I knew was going to be really strong but since he was young I thought he might be a bit naïve, but he raced a really good race for his age.”
Jade Jones-Hall (Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson) followed up her bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games last weekend with a seventh place finish in the women’s T53/54 race in 1:50:04.
The time was her fastest on the course and she credits her training for the paratriathlon, an event in which she won gold on the Gold Coast, to the fact she has been able to clock such an impressive time.
She said: “It’s always difficult going back-to-back at the Commonwealth Games and then here but I’m really happy with it, it’s my fastest time on this course. All my training has been focused on the triathlon and to get close to that is really positive.
“It’s something that we can build on for the future. We peak at around our 30s and I’m still only 22 and I have a long way to go, I’m really enjoying it right now.”
Christopher Goodwin (Nick Anderson) came home in 2:48:57, good enough for seventh position in the T11/12 classification.
Earlier in the morning, Kare Adenegan (King) secured victory in the Virgin Money Giving Mini Marathon Wheelchair Girls U17s race in 12:37.
After taking victory, she said: “It was a really good race, I went off extremely hard as I’m aware that girls are getting stronger. I had my eyes on the course record as the racing conditions were perfect today.
“It was my last race this year; I’ve competed six times and won five of those. I just forgot about the competition and went for it.”