10 Greatest Marathon Moments of 2023: #3 Hug makes it a clean sweep in NYC
3: Hug makes it a clean sweep in New York City
In an elegantly decorated conference hall in a New York hotel, Marcel Hug smiles at the cameras before him as he is presented with his gold Six Star medal. If you weren’t already aware, we are currently living in the Hug era, a period of dominance in sport that we haven’t seen in quite some time.
Since the pandemic interrupted the race calendar in 2020, Marcel Hug has won 15 of the 17 major races. During that time, he has shattered course records on 5 of the 6 races (Berlin must surely be his next target!) and collected 5 of the 6 Abbott WMM Series Championships that have been contested.
To review his year, each race follows a familiar template. The field lines up at the start line. Hug amongst them. The race official raises his hand and drops it as a starting pistol is fired. The assembled wheelchair racers set off on 26.2 gruelling miles around one of the world’s most famous cities. About 5-10k into the race, Marcel Hug takes the lead, and then an hour later, he storms to victory in a time that no one has come close to matching over the history of whichever race might be taking place that day.
There will be a presentation and a press conference, and Marcel will speak so calmly and assuredly about his performance that day that it will almost sound hypnotic. The Swiss Silver Bullet is as clinical in his delivery as he is in competition. He is a monster of his discipline, leaving those competing against him in his slipstream as he speeds towards another victory.
Which takes us back to that conference hall in the New York hotel. Earlier that day, Marcel had just claimed his sixth win in Central Park, but this one had an extra layer of significance as it meant he had completed a clean sweep of victories for the season. To commemorate this achievement, Abbott World Marathon Majors commissioned a special golden Six Star medal in recognition of a feat that had only previously been achieved by one other person, compatriot Manuela Schär, the other recipient of such a medal in 2019.
2024 doesn’t look like we are seeing the end of the Hug era any time soon. If you ask the man himself, he might tell you that it’s only just begun.