Galen Rupp competes during the men's marathon at the 2022 World Athletics Championships on July 17, 2022 in Eugene, Ore.
Athletes entered in Sunday’s New York City Marathon agree: the 26.2-mile course – east side, west side, all around the city’s five boroughs – is a thinking person’s course.
“There are lots of hills and bridges. I love to climb, so looking forward to that part,” Daniel Romanchuk said at New York’s Central Park on Thursday. “As far as strategy, it’s a lot of adapting, seeing what happens, going from there. You can go into the race with a plan, but as soon as that gun goes off, it could go out the window.”
Romanchuk, 24, knows the course well. In 2018, he became the first American and youngest winner ever of New York’s wheelchair event, edging longtime Swiss rival Marcel Hug by one second.
The two-time Paralympic medalist will square off against Hug again on Sunday, seeking his second major marathon crown of the year after winning in Boston in April. He temporarily moved from Champaign, Illinois, where he trains with University of Illinois’ track team, to his hometown of Mount Airy, Maryland.
“Training has been going well,” Romanchuk said. “I’ve done my typical pre-hilly marathon routine, got back to where I grew up and got some time on the hills to get used to them again.”
Susannah Scaroni hasn’t raced the New York City Marathon since 2019, when she placed third. A 15-time medalist in major marathons, she is counting on experience to outpace Tatyana McFadden, a five-time winner in New York, and rising U.S. star Jenna Fesemyer, as well as defending champion Madison de Rozario of Australia and three-time New York winner Manuela Schar of Switzerland.
“It’s a very strong field – I don’t really have expectations going in,” the two-time Paralympic medalist said. “I’m just going to gauge each moment how I’m feeling.”
Sacaroni also trains at the University of Illinois.
“The beauty of being this old (31) and having done this race many times is I sort of know how I should feel if I’m going to make an attack,” she added. “If I’m not feeling that I might have to be a little more strategic and work with others. I’m just going to plan as I go.”
On Sunday, Scaroni goes for her second major marathon win in five weeks, having won in Chicago early last month. It is a remarkable comeback from near tragedy: last September, while training for the Boston Marathon, she was hit by a car and suffered a burst fracture of her T8 vertebrae. The incident required surgery and a four-day hospital stay, and forced her withdrawal from the 2021 Boston, Chicago and New York City marathons.
“I was so disappointed not to get to race in Chicago and New York because I just really wanted to see what I can do,” Scaroni said. “But I am so thankful I lived, none of that matters. And even now, when things are challenging, which they always are, I have a much bigger perspective.”