De Rozario ready for solo Boston mission

The life of an athlete on the AbbottWMM wheelchair circuit requires a capacity to cope with a lot of travel and short recovery between racing.
For Madison de Rozario, she’s in the midst of an especially grueling 11 days as she bids to win her first Boston Marathon before jetting across the Atlantic to defend her TCS London Marathon crown.
The Australian left her home in Sydney on Thursday morning, enduring a 15-hour flight to Dallas before a delayed connection into Massachusetts. An early Friday morning arrival gave her little chance for catching breath before the pre-race press conference.
Her main rival for the race on Monday, Swiss star Manuela Schär, suffered her own travel delays, leaving the fatigued Paralympic marathon champion to field questions about the race as the only female member of the field present.
She expects to be alone again on Monday once the action gets under way. With no Susannah Scaroni in town to defend her title, De Rozario predicts Schär will make an early break.
“Manuela, once she gets that gap, she’s able to hold it, and with the way this race plays out, you get that gap early on and it becomes more of a mental game. Susannah has that mental edge, she was able to go half a marathon on her own (last year here) and she was doing it while the entire field was catching her. That’s what it takes. It’s a mind game.
“In a pack, when you feel the pain, you have distraction immediately  - you’re in a pack and don’t want to get dropped. On your own, things like the pain and fatigue almost take over, things that are difficult to ignore when it’s just you out there alone on the road.
“You can’t replicate it in training but you can think about it. It’s something I’ve worked with my sports psychologist on – how do you intrinsically motivate yourself under that level of fatigue only a marathon can create?”
Then there is her equipment. The 30-year-old switched into a new carbon-fiber chair more than a year ago, but is still tweaking it to find the ideal harmony between woman and machine.
“I’m still playing with position and it’s been a year and a half, it’s constant evolution. It goes downhill quicker, but it’s heavier.  I used to find climbing easy to now really struggling with it in this chair, and I’m having to put some specific work in on that. It rolls so well and I’m getting used to how you need to push it to  get the most out of it.”
Another athlete in a new chair is British legend David Weir.
The eight-time London champion is now in the same model as his arch-rival Marcel Hug, who has dominated the AbbottWMM scene since he began using it at the 2021 Paralympic Games.
Weir faced the Swiss at the first World Para Athletics Grand Prix of the year in Dubai and both men broke the old 5,000m world record, with Hug edging him out for the win by just 0.02 seconds. Weir has also set lifetime bests in the 800m (1:30.45) and 1500m (2:45.02) this year.
Hug has not lost a Major in the chair since he was beaten by Daniel Romanchuk in Chicago in 2021.
Now Weir finds himself in the same piece of kit, and the early signs have been promising.

If he can replicate his newfound short-course form over 26.2 miles, this Monday’s race will not be one to miss.

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