Manuela Schär made history at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon with another crushing victory.
London is her sixth consecutive Abbott World Marathon Majors win, making her the first athlete to accomplish the AbbottWMM grand slam. She can now make even more history if she ends the series with a seventh win back in Berlin in September, where her winning streak began in 2018.
The Swiss star made light work of her rivals on London’s roads. For a short time she had American Tatyana McFadden for company, but the race soon adopted the same pattern as most of the other contests in Series XII, with the 34-year-old simply proving too strong and too fast.
By Tower Bridge, she was on her own and heading for the new addition to the series, the bonus point section. In London this was coined the Flying 400 and had the extra incentive of a $10,000 prize attached to it for the fastest wheelchair racers through the section.
Schär, having already won the maximum three bonus contests in this series already, could only block her rivals from scoring, but the cash was hers to plunder, which she duly did, clocking 51 seconds to edge out Australia’s Madison de Rozario, who collected the second fastest prize of $5,000 with 53 seconds.
All that was left was for Schär to keep her wheels in touch with the tarmac, which she was able to do to coast to yet another victory and earn herself a piece of sporting history.
McFadden followed - over five minutes later - as she outsprinted De Rozario for second.
In the men’s wheelchair race, the changing of the guard continued as Daniel Romanchuk sealed his fourth win of the series to maximise his points tally and slam the door on Marcel Hug’s hopes of catching him.
The American exchanged the lead with Hug on several occasions as they broke clear along with Japan’s Tomoki Suzuki and the race was shaping into one of London’s typical sprint finishes.
But on the final turn, Romanchuk cranked those massive arms into gear and his burst was too much for Hug to live with.
The reigning series champion had no reply and had to settle for watching his crown disappear down The Mall.
This was Romanchuk’s first Majors victory outside his home country, another test passed for a young man who seems to be answering every challenge posed to him at present.
The action in London brings the curtain down on the Spring series of AbbottWMM races before the focus shifts to Berlin in September where the fast and flat roads of the German capital will provide the stage for the finale to what has been a thrilling Series XII so far.