Fresh from her Paralympic Games triumph in Tokyo, Australia’s Madison de Rozario has won the women’s elite wheelchair event at the New York Marathon.
In winning the event, Madison de Rozario becomes the first Australian woman, either in the wheelchair or open events, to take the crown.
The dual Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and Tokyo Paralympics gold medallist held off past New York Marathon champions, home crowd hero Tatyana McFadden and Switzerland’s Manuela Shar in the last 17km of the race, crossing the line in Central Park in 1:51.01.
While she won her breakthrough marathon by just one second in Tokyo, she blew away the field in the early hours of the morning winning by nearly 3 minutes.
McFadden came second, with Shar crossing third.
“This is unreal. New York is one that I’ve never had amazing results on. It’s been my least successful event, and my least successful consistently. But the two years we weren’t travelling, we buried ourselves in base work and strength work, and it’s paid off not just here but in Tokyo, it’s so nice to see,” the 27-year-old just said.
Though she won the ultimate title in Tokyo just three months ago, de Rozario admits her preparation for New York has been less than ideal, only confirming her entry two weeks ago, with the news of quarantine ending in NSW.
“I was definitely nervous. I knew I could do the 42km. I knew the fitness was still there, but without the prep, you don’t know how you’re going to react to things, or how you’re going to take control of variables. New York has a way of stringing people out because of the way the course is structured, and then you have to push on your own when you’re in a position like that, which is so hard, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to be for me,” The 27-year-old said.
“I’ve been wanting to break into this part of my career for three years. The marathon is such a big challenge in terms of how you train for it. There’s such a huge difference between staying with a pack, or getting to the podium or even staying strong throughout the distance.
“But to back up a win. I’ve never been consistent. To come away with both New York and the Paralympics, shows how much work we have put in.”
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An athlete known for her speed, rather than her power over hills, the Sydneysider said she had zero expectations coming into the event, due to the nature of the famously hilly course.
“I don’t think I even realised the gap that there was. Last time I raced New York in 2018, I think two people passed me in the last 3km, so I got there and I didn’t necessarily think I had it. I broke away at 25km and just had to hold. That 17km was so intense.
“Tatyana is the best climber in the world, and then Manuela is a lot better at down hills than I am. I’m second at both of those things. New York is all hills, and I could see them play into their strengths in that first 25km. I knew I needed to get down those hills before Manuela, so I put a lot of focus on that to create a gap. It was way earlier than when I wanted to break away but once there was a gap, I did everything I could to hold it.”,
The win also comes at a serendipitous time, as compatriot and Paralympic legend Kurt Fearnley AO was inducted into the New York Road Runners Hall of Fame last week becoming the first Australian to be inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame.
As one of only five athletes chosen for the Hall of Fame induction, the announcement celebrates Fearnley’s four consecutive NYC marathon titles from 2006 to 2009 with a fifth victory in 2014.
Until the early hours of this morning, Fearnley held the course record of 1:29.22 from 2006.
With thanks Athletics Australia.