Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär dominated the wheelchair races at the 2023 Tokyo Marathon to shatter the men’s and women’s course records and start AbbottWMM Series XV in style.
The Swiss duo endured contrasting Majors seasons in 2022, with Hug winning five of the six races while Schär only registered one win – in Boston last April.
That meant she relinquished her series title to the American Susannah Scaroni, who was unable to make the start line in Japan due to illness.
It opened the door for Schär to put down a marker in the series curtain-raiser, and she did just that, powering away from the rest of the field.
She was already a minute ahead at the 10km mark, which scored her the eight series bonus points as the first athlete to reach that point.
The 38-year-old did not look back from there, steaming on to win by over six minutes in a course record time of 1:36:43. It’s her third Tokyo victory after winning here in 2018 and 2019. In both those years, she ended the series as AbbottWMM champion.
Japan’s Kina Tsubasa came second while there was a sprint for the last spot on the podium, with Australia’s Madison de Rozario edging out the USA’s Jenna Fesemeyer.
Paralympic champion de Rozario also claimed her Six Star Finisher medal on a day when a world record number of athletes in the field would join the Six Star Hall of Fame.
For Hug, there was also a course record, as he crossed the line in 1:20:57 with a three-and-half minute cushion over Tomoki Suzuki. Sho Watanabe was third.
Hug was also at the front of the pack when they arrived at the bonus point marker, so he has plundered the maximum haul of 33 points to begin his title defence.