U.S. Athletes Eye Marathon World Titles In London

By Brianna Tammaro | April 27, 2019, 5:50 a.m. (ET)
(Left to Right) Daniel Romanchuk, Madison de Rozario, David Weir, Manuela Schar, and Marcel Hug pose in front of the Tower Bridge ahead of the 2019 London Marathon. Daniel Romanchuk (far left) poses with top competitors of the men's and women's wheelchair field ahead of the 2019 London Marathon, which serves as the World Para Athletics Championships on Sunday, April 28.

The world’s best wheelchair racers will compete on the streets of London for the title of world champions at the World Para Athletics Marathon Championships on April 28. The event, which is also the London Marathon, is highlighted by Americans Daniel Romanchuk (Mount Airy, Maryland), Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland), Susannah Scaroni (Tekoa, Washington), and Josh George (Herndon, Virginia). 

Leading the pack is Romanchuk, who comes into Sunday’s race as one of the most exciting and dominant racers this year. The 21-year-old comes off three consecutive major marathon wins over the last 12 months with victories in Chicago, New York and Boston just two weeks ago. He currently leads the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series and hopes to earn his first win and world title in London. Romanchuk has already made massive strides in London, improving from 26th place in 2016 to placing on the podium with third in 2017. Romanchuk will face a steep men’s field, competing against the reigning London Marathon winner and home favorite David Weir of Great Britain as well as Switzerland’s defending Paralympic champion Marcel Hug and South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk.

U.S. teammate George will have the chance to defend his world title from 2015 in the men’s race. The 35-year-old hopes to find himself back on the top of the podium after finishing fourth in 2017. He’ll also see competition from fellow Team USA athletes Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota), who finished fourth two weeks ago in Boston.

McFadden has overcome a lot, including injuries and equipment issues, while maintaining her position in the top tier of the women’s wheelchair division. The four-time London Marathon winner placed second in the event last year and heads into competition as the reigning marathon world champion. With her last victory dating back to Boston in 2018, the newly 30-year-old will face tough competition in the women’s race, including defending London Marathon champion Madison de Rozario of Australia, Swiss superstar Manuela Schär, U.S. teammate Susannah Scaroni, and defending Paralympic marathon champion Zou Lihong of China. 

Scaroni placed on the podium in this event last year with a third place finish and is looking for her first Majors victory in London. It’s been a strong year for the 27-year-old, who has had five top-three finishes in 2018. She’ll aim to break her third-place streak in London in the last two years with a top result on Sunday. 

Also vying for top performances in London are U.S. athletes Katrina Gerhard (Acton, Massachusetts), Arielle Rausin (Urbana, Illinois), James Senbeta (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Brian Siemann (Millstone, New Jersey) and Michelle Wheeler (Boalsburg, Pennsylvania). 

The London Marathon will host the first marathon world championship since 2015 with five Para races, including three for ambulant runners and two for wheelchair racers. The wheelchair events will consist of 18 competitors in the women’s competition and 40 in the men’s race. This will be the first opportunity for athletes to earn qualification slots for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020with the top four athletes in each event earning a Paralympic place for their National Paralympic Committee. 

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