Dutch surprised favourite Manuela Schar in the women's race while and Canadian gave his country the first victory in the British capital
New course, new format and new winners.
The 2020 London Marathon saw Netherlands’ Nikita den Boer surprise favourite Manuela Schaer in the women’s wheelchair race and Brent Lakatos become the first Canadian to win the men’s wheelchair competition on Sunday (4 October).
Just as Eliud Kipchoge had seen his magnificent unbeaten streak ended earlier in the day in the men's elite race, Manuela Schaer, the maestro of the women’s wheelchair racing circuit, saw her hope of a third victory halted by Den Boer’s unrelenting drive and spirit in difficult rainy conditions around St James's Park.
Amazingly, Den Boer sliced more than 10 minutes off her lifetime best in these challenging conditions, clocking 1 hour, 40 minutes and 7 seconds, 1:22 clear of Schaer, who had won all nine of her previous World Major Marathons races, but who ended up looking wet and rather dispirited here.
“I’m Dutch but I hate rain. I came here aiming for a top four as this was the Dutch qualifying standard for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. I didn’t know I could do this,” a shocked Den Boer said.
Lakatos, at the tender age of 40, also delivered the greatest marathon of his distinguished career, as the track sprint specialist, pushing from the front throughout, proved the strongest to drive away from home hero David Weir in a sprint finish down the Mall.
It meant there was to be no record-extending ninth title for Weir, who finished second and pushed his old rival Marcel Hug into third place.
2020 Getty Images
“The London Marathon is the biggest marathon out there. When they suggested they might have an elite-only race it gave me motivation. My training has gone well all summer long,” Lakatos, who is hoping to make a fifth Paralympic Games appearance next summer, told BBC.
Lakatos has won seven Paralympic medals and 11 World Championship titles at every distance between the 100 and 800m.
The Canadian spent most of the race ahead of a six-men leading pack but had his eyes on Hug, who was hoping for a third London Marathon victory.
"On the final lap I knew Marcel Hug was right there. I didn't know if I'd be able to hold on but I got lucky," Lakatos said.