Rivals renew battle in Berlin

If there were extra costs for excess baggage on the flight home from Tokyo this summer, you can bet the brunt of it was borne by the wheelchair racers we’ll be seeing this weekend.

Between the men’s and women’s lineups for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON this Sunday, they took no fewer than 20 Paralympic medals home from the Japanese capital.

Women’s AbbottWMM wheelchair series leader Manuela Schär ended her wait for a medal of the gold variety with two victories and two second places in her busy schedule, while long-time rival Tatyana McFadden took her personal career Paralympic medal tally to an astonishing 20.

Neither of them could claim gold in the marathon in Tokyo, however. That bauble went to Australia’s Madison de Rozario, who edged out Schär by a single second.

De Rozario has been unable to travel to Germany, but Schär and McFadden are here in Berlin to restart Series XIII after a long hiatus.

Schär holds a commanding lead at the top of the table. But with so many races still to come there is time for her to be caught.

She broke the world record in Berlin in 2018 and again in Oita in 2019, which was her tenth consecutive marathon victory. In this race, she has won the last four editions.

McFadden has not tasted success in Berlin to date. An equipment problem hindered her Berlin debut in 2018, but she returns with renewed enthusiasm to see what she can do on the fastest Majors course of the lot.

Her compatriot Daniel Romanchuk is also yet to win here. The Series XIII leader was well back down the field in 2018 when Canada’s Brent Lakatos won on a sun-soaked day, and was not present a year later when the experienced Marcel Hug triumphed in wet conditions that traditionally favor the veteran Swiss athlete.

Hug, Romanchuk and McFadden are tackling all five races in this packed AbbottWMM season, while Schär will skip the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to focus on Boston a day later.

Conditions look set to provide the chance for a fast time on Sunday as the wheelchair series returns to the roads. It’s great to have it back.

Current leaderboards.