Switzerland is celebrating a second brace of victories in as many AbbottWMM races after Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär won the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Hug stormed away from his Series rival Daniel Romanchuk after the American claimed the eight bonus points in the Flying 400m contest, eventually smashing the course record with a time of 1:26:27.
He now heads into a double weekend with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon next Sunday before the Boston Marathon 24 hours later.
“This is the first time we are doing this,” said Hug. “I don’t feel nervous but it will be tough and I know it is possible. Several athletes are doing the same program so it will be fun.
“In Chicago it will be important to manage a bit of energy for the next day in Boston. I am really looking forward to Boston and the downhill. I am racing in a new chair and it feels really great going downhill so I am excited about it.”
The series is now on a knife edge between Hug and Romanchuk, and there will be all to play for in those next two races which were won by Romanchuk in 2019.
Hug added: “I have a lot of confidence after winning Berlin and London but all the other athletes are very strong as well but it’s a challenge doing so many marathons so we have to try out best to manage the energy.”
For Schär, her third consecutive Series title was secure before today’s race, and she admitted she is enjoying her return to the roads after a hectic Paralympic summer.
“I had a lot of emotional stress in Tokyo and a lot of races but I felt so good in Berlin and that gave me a lot of confidence and I was so excited to come here,” she said.
Schär is not emulating Hug by doing both American races next week, choosing to focus on retaining her Boston title on the Monday.
“I will try to do the same as last week to prepare for Boston. Rest well, eat well and sleep well, not really workout too hard and focus on my recovery.”
“Winning Series XIII is an added bonus, it’s great that I could come back as strong as I was in 2019. I put a bit of pressure on myself but I am so glad that I am back and still enjoying racing so much.”
Behind Schär was teenage sensation Merle Menje from Germany, who got home just ahead of the legendary American Tatyana McFadden and could not hide her delight afterwards
“It’s been amazing, I really enjoyed racing here,” she said. “London is so special, I have been here twice for the mini marathon so it was beautiful out there and I really enjoyed it.”
“It’s such an honor to be racing with these strong ladies and to be on the podium with them. I am finished for this Majors season but hopefully next year I will be back and I am looking forward to it.”
McFadden, who is taking on all five Majors this season, was full of praise for her young rival.
“I’m really proud of the progress being made, She’s smart and had a good finish in all the series and she reminded me of my younger self today”
“I feel relaxed and confident going into my next races and I try not to think of them as a whole. I’m hopeful of a podium finish in all of my races and it feel so good to be back here today.”