LONDON – Shirley Reilly captured gold in the women’s marathon (T54) on Sunday, the final day of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
The marathon, which was centered around The Mall near Buckingham Palace, drew quite a crowd, with the streets lined for miles with spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the final events of these Games.
Reilly hung back just behind the leaders and made her move right near the end, grabbing the top spot with a time of 1:46:33.
"I kept motivating myself to keep going because I was hanging on in there for a very long time,” she said. “It was a very tactical race, with a lot of twists and turns. It was tough."
Fellow American Amanda McGrory finished fourth, just outside the medals. Susannah Scaroni was eighth, and Tatyana McFadden, who has won three gold medals and a bronze in London, finished ninth after suffering flat tires at two different points in the race.
"I started out so strong and halfway through the race no one was near me,” McFadden said. “Then the tire went and it took me nearly five minutes to fix it while the pack went past.”
Though the result was not what she was hoping for, McFadden has relished the opportunity to race at these Paralympic Games and succeed.
"It's been a phenomenal Games for me,” she said. “I've taken four out of five medals and completed the marathon in less than two hours with two flats. I can't complain.”
The top finisher in the men’s marathon (T54) was Krige Schabort, who crossed the finish line in 10th place with a time of 1:33:05. Aaron Pike was 16th, Joshua George was 20th, Adam Bleakney 24th, Brian Siemann 25th and Ryan Chalmers rounded out the U.S. men’s field in 28th.
Chris Hammer also competed in the men’s marathon (T46) on Sunday, and finished with a season’s best 2:50:30.
“I have had a few injuries along the way, but I have battled hard and I have finished a marathon,” he said. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Being here representing the USA has been awesome.
In all, the U.S. picked up 28 medals in track and field events, and 98 medals throughout the course of the Games.