The hopes of the leading British contenders in both the men’s and women’s wheelchair races in the 2010 Virgin London Marathon were dashed by punctures.
David Weir was several minutes clear of the field and heading for a record-breaking fifth London victory when he suffered two punctures, first to his front tyre after 15 miles, and then to a back tyre about five miles later.
Shelly Woods, who won the race in 2007, was in the leading pack of four in the women’s race when she had a puncture after 21 miles.
Weir eventually finished third, behind the winner, Josh Cassidy from Canada, and Marcel Hug from Switzerland. Britain’s Mark Telford came tenth, 13 minutes behind the winner.
Weir said: “I tried my hardest but it was like doing another 20 miles on top when I got two punctures.”
Weir said he felt he was back to peat fitness following the problems with glandular fever that hindered his preparations for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
He said: “As soon as your back tyres go, it’s a struggle to go very far. I was in great shape this year and felt back to normal after my illness, but it’s obviously disappointing.”
Woods also completed her race despite her puncture and eventually came in sixth, more than 50 minutes behind the winner, Tsuchida Wakako, from Japan, who had won the Boston marathon the previous week. Britain’s Nikki Emmerson came fourth and Sarah Piercy fifth.
Woods said: “There’s nothing like racing at home and at the London Marathon. It’s just a shame I couldn’t show my sprint finish, but I will be back.”
Woods is now looking ahead to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October, and the IPC Athletics World Championship in New Zealand next January.
26 April 2010