Daniel Romanchuk poses for a photo at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2019 in Boston.
If Paralympian Daniel Romanchuk’s star emerged after winning both the Chicago and New York marathons last year, it is now shining like the sun after becoming the first U.S. man to win the Boston Marathon men’s wheelchair division race since 1993 on Monday.
The 20-year-old from Mount Airy, Maryland, is also the youngest to ever win the title, finishing with a time of 1:21.36. Japan’s Masazumi Soejima was second at 1:24.30 and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, the four-time defending champion, was third at 1:26.42.
U.S. Paralympian Aaron Pike, who in February captured the first Para Nordic skiing world championship medal of his career with a bronze in the men’s biathlon sprint sitting class, finished in fourth place with a time of 1:27.09.
Romanchuk is the seventh American to win the men’s wheelchair race and the first since Jim Knaub won his fifth title in 1993.
A track athlete who made his Paralympic debut at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, Romanchuk placed third in Boston in 2018. He was also third in London and sixth in Berlin, then won Chicago for his first major marathon victory ever in October 2018. He followed that up with a win in New York just weeks later.
Both wins in Chicago and New York were sprints to the finish line, and he ultimately beat out Hug by a combined two seconds.
Monday’s race was decidedly different. Ten-time winner Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa held an early lead and was overtaken by Hug around the eight-mile mark. Romanchuk was the first to the halfway mark, however, and soon the race became a battle between him and Soejima at the front.
By the 35-kilometer mark Romanchuk had built his lead up to nine seconds and Hug was a full two minutes back in third. At mile 23, Romanchuk was still out in front and neither Soejima nor any other challenger could make up the ground.
In the women’s wheelchair race, seven-time Paralympic gold medalist and five-time Boston champion Tatyana McFadden finished second behind Manuela Schar of Switzerland. Schar won the race with a time of 1:34:19 while McFadden crossed the finish line in 1:41:35.