No sooner had he waved to the Gold Coast crowd atop the Commonwealth podium last Sunday than Kurt Fearnley was reaching for his bags and on his way to London.
Celebrations of his final race in the green and gold quickly turned to preparing for what is set to be a hotly contested London Marathon on Sunday afternoon (5:55pm AEST).
Fearnley goes into the race as the course record-holder (1:28:57 from 2009) and perhaps a slight psychological advantage given the conditions expected.
The weather forecast for Sunday’s race is predicted to be the hottest on record at 23 degrees, so Fearnley’s experience from the hot and humid Gold Coast race last Sunday will be invaluable as he seeks his third win in London.
The five-time Paralympian last won in London in 2013 (feature photo) and is the marathon champion from Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) and silver medallist in the event at Rio in 2016.
A record $US25,000 is on offer for the winner of this year's event and the booty has attracted a field of the highest quality.
Last year's winner and UK Paralympic legend David Weir is sure to be fired up to win what would be his eighth men’s wheelchair title.
In his way will be world record-holder Marcel Hug. Despite a loss in London to the Brit by the barest of margins last year (1 second), the Swiss champion is the one to beat.
Hug, the reigning Paralympic champion won the inaugural World Marathon Majors in 2017 and also recorded the fastest wheelchair marathon in history with a 1:18:04 when winning in Boston.
With wins in Berlin, Chicago and New York over the last season he already has an unassailable lead in this year’s World Marathon Majors standings.
Madison de Rozario, fresh off her own win on the Gold Coast is up against another Swiss star, Manuela Schär. As a winner in Boston and London last year and the fastest in the field (1:28:17), Schär is going to tough to beat. The full complement of 2016 Rio medallists is on the start list including gold medallist Zou Lihong from China and silver and bronze medalists from the US Tatyana McFadden and Amanda McGrory.
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