Australian Kurt Fearnley fended off a strong challenge from Britain’s David Weir to win the 2009 Flora London Wheelchair Marathon.
In perfect weather conditions, Weir narrowly failed to take his fourth straight title, crossing the line just a second behind Fearnley. South African Ernst Van Dyk was third.
Weir, who was competing for the first time since the Beijing Paralympics, said after the race: “I had a break after Beijing and I have had limited amounts of training. All of these guys are doing marathons every other week. I can only do two in a year. At the end I didn’t have a little bit extra to fight for the win.”
In the women’s race, American Amanda McGrory won in an even more exciting finish. She finished a second ahead of Swiss racer Sandra Graf. Britain’s Shelly Woods, who won in 2007, was sixth, just seven seconds behind McGrory.