Paralympics

Swiss wheelchair racer Hug sets men's course record in 5th NYC Marathon win

Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the New York City Marathon men's wheelchair race for the fifth time, shattering the course record Sunday and tying Kurt Fearnley for most-ever victories in the men's wheelchair race.

Kenyans Chebet, Lodeki make event debuts and capture men's, women's races

Marcel Hug of Switzerland crosses the finish line first in the men's wheelchair division of the New York City Marathon. The 36-year-old, who won last year, earned $50,000 US for clocking a course record of one hour 25 minutes 26 seconds on Sunday. (Jason DeCrow/Associated Press)

Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the New York City Marathon men's wheelchair race for the fifth time, shattering the course record Sunday and tying Kurt Fearnley for most-ever victories in the men's wheelchair race.

Hug finished the 42.2-kilometre course through all five boroughs of New York in one hour 25 minutes 26 seconds to break the previous mark of 1:29.22 set by Fearnley of Australia in 2006.

Hug, who also won the race last year, earned $50,000 US for besting the course record. He crossed the finish line more than two minutes ahead of second-place finisher Daniel Romanchuk of Illinois.

"The conditions were great for us. A tail wind the first half. It was very good conditions. I think that's the reason," Hug said of the record time. "I didn't know the time. My goal was to go as fast as possible and didn't focus on the time."

Hug won on an unseasonably warm day, with the temperature expected to soar beyond 20 C and possibly challenge the record for the hottest race since the marathon moved to November in 1986.

While that might not be good for the 50,000 runners, Hug said on Thursday warm conditions are ideal for wheelchair racers.

Nicknamed the "The Silver Bullet," the 36-year-old has been on quite a streak, winning four gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympics last year as well as the Tokyo, Berlin, London and Chicago Marathons in 2022.

Susannah Scaroni also broke the course record in the women's wheelchair race, finishing in 1:42.43. That was 21 seconds better than the old mark, which was held by Tatyana McFadden.

Event back to full capacity

Scaroni, a 31-year-old from Illinois, pulled away from the field early and earned the bonus money for topping the course record. Scaroni won the Chicago Marathon last month and was victorious for the first time in New York after finishing third in 2019.

This was the first time that the marathon was back to full capacity since the pandemic.

Elsewhere, Kenyans Evans Chebet and Sharon Lokedi made huge splashes in their New York City Marathon debuts.

Chebet finished in 2:08:41, 13 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Shura Kitata of Ethiopia.

There was a scary moment in the men's race when Daniel Do Nascimento, who had been leading the entire way, collapsed 34 km in. Race officials said later he was OK.

The Brazilian ran the first half of the race in a blistering 1:01.22, which put him two minutes ahead of the course record pace. He had been leading by nearly two minutes for the first 24 km before he started to slow a bit.

Do Nascimento went down right before heading back into Manhattan and was quickly attended to by medical professionals. Earlier, he had taken a 20-second bathroom break and had stopped to walk briefly a few minutes before he collapsed.

Chebet, 33, pulled away from the pack when chasing Do Nascimento as they headed over the bridge into Manhattan for the first time. After Do Nascimento's collapse, Chebet took the lead and wasn't threatened the rest of the way.

Chebet won the Boston Marathon earlier this year.

No U.S. runner has won since '09

"Boston was actually harder and it prepared him for the win for New York," the translator said for Chebet. "He's very thankful."

The victory continued a drought for American men in the race: No runner from the United States has won since 2009. The Americans' top hope, Galen Rupp, was in the chase pack before withdrawing from the race right before the 31 km mark.

For Lokedi, it was her first-ever marathon and she finished in 2:23.23, just ahead of Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel.

"I'm just so happy that I just won, you know?!" said Lokedi, laughing. "I'm really excited, just so happy that I did it here. The people out there, the course was amazing, the cheers, everything. I'm just thankful."

The 28-year-old was in a tight race before she pulled ahead of Chemtai Salpeter in the final 3.2 km to win by seven seconds and finish about 50 seconds off the course record.

"I didn't expect to win, I expected to run well," Lokedi said. "It was a good outcome and I'm really excited."

An hour earlier, the men's and women's wheelchair races ended with course records being broken.

The warm weather wasn't ideal for the 50,000 runners who started the 51st edition of the marathon.

Race organizers said there were nine misting stations on the course and there was plenty of water available along the way as well as bananas and energy gels.

There were a couple of celebrities who ran the race, including Ashton Kutcher and Chelsea Clinton, who completed it for a second straight year. Both were running for charity.

Samantha Judge, the wife of New York Yankees' home run champion Aaron Judge, also ran the marathon. The baseball free agent presented her with her medal when she finished along with Yankees outfielder/designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton.

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