A NEW training regime adopted after the 2012 Paralympics has helped Kurt Fearnley outsprint his wheelchair racing rivals and claim victory at the London Marathon.
The Australian, who won silver and bronze at the London Games, timed his sprint perfectly on Sunday to take the victory outside Buckingham Palace.
“I realised last year that at the last 300m if someone’s got that extra bit of power up their sleeve they beat you every time,” Fearnley told AAP after winning in 1:31:29.
“It doesn’t really matter how many kilometres you’ve got under your belt you’ve just got to be powerful enough to hit the speed you need to win.”
Fearnley’s new regime has seen him spend more time in the gym and less on the road. And it’s possible he’s going to get even quicker.
“We are only a third of the way through to the end result, which will be New York in November,” he said on Sunday.
“See how I go then.”
Fearnley, 32, tucked in behind race favourite David Weir from Great Britain over the final few kilometres.
He fought hard to gain the inside line out of the last corner before powering past Weir up The Mall.
Switzerland’s Marcel Hug got up for second with Ernst van Dyk from South Africa in third. Weir, bidding for a record seventh title, ended fifth.
“I didn’t see myself winning that race until the last 10 metres,” Fearnley told the winners’ press conference.
“I hid a lot from the guys. In the Games I spent a lot of time out front and it taxed me a little.
“This time it was just about conserving and hiding amongst that big pack and then taking the opportunity when it came.”
Canadian Josh Cassidy raged at organisers after he collided with Tiki Gelana as the wheelchair racers passed the able-bodied elite women.
Gelana, the Olympic champion, had cut left across the road to reach a drink station.
Cassidy said the wheelchairs should start before the women to make the race safer.
Fearnley agreed with him. “We’ve thought it for years mate,” he said when quizzed on the incident.
The Australian last week finished fifth in the Boston Marathon before two bombs exploded near the finish line killing three people and injuring more than 170.
The London race was the only time since then Fearnley hasn’t thought about the Boston victims and their families.
“During the race you’re just trying to ignore the pain and look at the guy next to you,” he said.
Immediately after the race – before he spoke to reporters – Fearnley tweeted: “Boston ur always in our thoughts.”
Australian Christie Dawes finished fourth in the women’s wheelchair race behind United States winner Tatyana McFadden who dedicated her victory to Boston.
No Australians ran in the elite races. – AAP