After winning six gold medals at July’s International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships and the Boston and London Marathons earlier this year, American Tatyana McFadden’s season got a little sweeter today – this time closer to home.
McFadden won the women’s wheelchair division of the Chicago Marathon in a course-record time of 1:42:35, just a couple of hours away from where she currently lives and studies in at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
“My head was weak, and I couldn’t see very well,” McFadden told the Chicago Tribune following the race. “It was just muscle memory. I needed to accelerate, and that’s all I was thinking about.”
It was McFadden’s third consecutive victory in Chicago, and fourth in the last five years, and with the win she became the first racer to ever complete the marathon triple crown of Boston, London and Chicago in one season. She will now move on to next month’s New York City Marathon, where she’ll aim to become the first athlete to win the four major marathons in one season.
At the New York City Marathon, she will also captain Team USA Endurance, a fundraising platform that gives a team of amateur athletes the unique opportunity to not only support Team USA, but to be a part of Team USA. As Team USA Endurance athletes take on the 26.2 mile course through the five boroughs of New York, they will also take on the ultimate running challenge in order to raise awareness and donations to support U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls through the USOC, a non-profit organization that receives no government funding for Olympic programs.
In Chicago, McFadden was followed closely across the finish line by marathon world champion Manuela Schaer of Switzerland (1:42:38) and her American teammate Amanda McGrory (1:42:55).
All three athletes were faster than the previous course-record mark of 1:44:29, set by Ann Walters in 1992.
The men’s wheelchair race came down to a thrilling sprint finish, with South Africa’s Ernst Van Dyk nosing ahead of the line first in 1:30:37. Aussie Kurt Fearnley and American Josh George were right on his tail, both clocking in at 1:30:38 to finish second and third, respectively.
“I just closed the gaps when I had to,” Van Dyk told the Chicago Tribune. “I tried to conserve as much as possible for that last dash to the finish. Fortunately, I had enough left in the tank.”
For Van Dyk, the most decorated athlete in Boston Marathon history, it was his first victory in Chicago.