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Weir confident ahead of 17th london marathon 

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David Weir

23 April 2016

Six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir (coach: Jenny Archer) has pinpointed long-time rival Marcel Hug as his biggest challenge ahead of his 17th appearance at the Virgin Money London Marathon this Sunday.

Weir, a winner on the iconic London course a record-equalling six times admits that his Swiss counterpart is the man to beat after Hug claimed victory at the Boston Marathon on Monday, three places ahead of Weir.

There were mixed fortunes for the duo at last year’s event with Hug’s chances ended by a puncture and Weir suffering from grip issues which saw him pipped by USA’s Joshua George in a sprint finish.

On what it will take to win, Weir said: “Beat Marcel (Hug) – he’ll be the main man to beat. I said that last year – if he hadn’t have got a puncture, he would have won. He was so strong in the rain and that’s why he’s the one to beat on Sunday.

“You just have to match whatever he’s doing. Every year he seems to get better on certain things. Previous years his climbing was awful but in Boston, he was flying up them. You can see he’s always trying to improve.

“I love the racing and like how fierce it’s got. The competition has got better over the years and I’m really looking forward to Sunday. I’ve had a good training camp and winter and blowout in Boston.”

Should Weir match his last victory at the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2012, he will overtake the six wins shared with Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. However, Weir has put those thoughts to one side as he targets one of the biggest wins in his career.

“I’d rather win London than win gold in Rio, it means that much to me. I haven’t thought about it (winning for the seventh time) to be honest, because if I do I’ll dwell on it too much. I think it was great to do Boston because I haven’t had time to think about anything apart from getting back and ready for London.

“Coming here and racing in London. It’s been part of my life since I was eight years old and I don’t get bored or tired of getting ready for this race. It’s a great time to have it because it gives you motivation all through the winter to race. It then gives you another step to your training plan for the next couple of months for Rio to see where you’re at.

Shelly Woods (Archer), who flew back with Weir on Monday following a ninth place finish in the women’s race in Boston admits that two marathons in six days is a big ask, but is well prepared for the race she last won four years ago.  

“I’m not going to lie to you, it is tough. But I managed to get home, work on my recovery and the race seems out of my arms now. Everybody else is pretty much in the same boat and I’ve prepared well for it in my training.

“I’m taking each race as it comes and I assess everything after every race, that’s all you can do. Hopefully I’m due a good one on Sunday. My focus this year is all about being competitive, so if I’m in the top six and on the pace, I’d be happy with that.”

Woods will be joined in the race by Tatyana McFadden, who has won the last three London Marathon title and Jade Jones (Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson) with the Middlesbrough-based star keen to make her mark on the event after withdrawing through injury in 2015.

“I had problems with my back and couple of issues, which meant I had to pull out of the World Championships too. But training has been going well this year, so hopefully I’ll get to the finish line.

“London’s always an incredible event. I started at the Mini Marathon when I was 12, so did that until I was 17 and it’s always been such an incredible atmosphere. The streets are lined completely from start to finish and that’s what I really love about it. I wasn’t really a marathon athlete, but after doing it for the first time in 2014, I knew I had to do it again.”   

12 months on from producing the best performance of his career, Derek Rae (Ron Morrison) will look to go even better this weekend with the Rio Paralympic Games a big focus this year for the 30 year old from Scotland. In only his fifth marathon of his career, Rae ran 2:40.40 a marked improvement on the 2:45.50 set in London in 2014 and is hoping for another strong showing as he makes his way to the start line in 24 hours time.

Rae said: “A four minute PB would be amazing, I’d take that any day of the week and if all goes well on race day, anything can happen. Hopefully it all goes well on the day and we’re sitting down with a big PB on Sunday afternoon.

“Hopefully I’ll keep progressing and this is just the start of it. I’m new to the sport and all being well there’s plenty more to come. Preparation has gone really well – I’ve come off a really good training block. I’ve been racing and training well, so hopefully it all goes to plan this weekend.”


British Athletics team for the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup in London on Sunday 24 April:

Men:

Simon Lawson (Ian Thompson) – T53/54

Derek Rae (Ron Morrison) – T46

John Smith (Jenny Archer) – T53/T54

Rob Smith (Job King) – T52 

David Weir (Jenny Archer) – T53/T54

 

Women:

Jade Jones (Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson) – T53/T54

Shelly Woods (Jenny Archer) – T53/T54

 

For more information visit: https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/