(L-R) Manuela Schär (Switzerland), Susannah Scaroni and Madison de Rozario (Australia) pose after the women's wheelchair division at the 2022 New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, 2022 in New York.
Susannah Scaroni used an aggressive start to turn the TCS New York City Marathon into a one-woman show on Sunday, blasting asway from the women’s wheelchair field in the opening mile and building up a cushion that her rivals could not overcome. In the end, she crossed the finish line in 1:42:43, taking 21 seconds off the 2015 course record set by fellow American Tatyana McFadden.
“I knew my speeds were really high, and I was trying so hard to maintain as high of a pace as I could knowing how strong of a field I had behind me,” Scaroni said after navigating New York’s challenging five-borough course. “And I didn’t know if they were working together, but I always assume they are.”
In the end, nobody managed to come close to Scaroni. Switzerland’s Manuela Schär, who won this race three times from 2017 to 2019, was a distant second, in 1:45:11. Australia’s Madison de Rozario (1:45:24), the reigning Paralympic champion, completed the podium.
Coming off a victory in the Chicago Marathon in October — her first-ever win in an Abbott World Marathon Majors event — the 31-year-old Scaroni has established firmly established herself as one of the top racers on the circuit.
Her success this fall has played out just over a year after a frightening accident in September 2021 when she was hit by a car during training near her home in Champaign, Illinois, and suffered fractured vertebrae. The recovery was arduous, but Scaroni is now producing the best racing of her life.
Her trajectory was already on the rise at last year’s Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, where she won gold in the 5,000 meters and added bronze in the 800. Those track performances boosted her confidence for the longer, 26.2-mile distance.
“In Tokyo last year, for the first time I really saw that my speed had increased quite a bit,” she said. That complimented the experience she has gained over time. “I think this sport is more of an art. So you get better as you get older, at least to a level. And I’ve been learning from amazingly fast women who have been in front of me for all these years.”
In addition to her $25,000 first-place prize, Scaroni also earned a $50,000 bonus for breaking the course record. This year, for the first time, race organizers New York Road Runners offered the same bonus for wheelchair athletes as the professional runners.
“Having elite-level sport in adaptive sports is just as important, if not more, to help encourage everyone to be more active and to be physically fit,” she said of the message that this prize equity sends.