Ernst van Dyk (RSA) and Tatyana McFadden (USA) to defend their titles.
BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today that defending push rim wheelchair division champions Ernst van Dyk (RSA) and Tatyana McFadden (USA) will compete in the 2015 Boston Marathon® on Monday, April 20. Van Dyk and McFadden will look to add another olive wreath to their decorated Boston Marathon collection, leading a field that includes past Boston Marathon champions, world champions, Paralympic medalists, and world record holders. For the 30th consecutive year, principal sponsor John Hancock Financial Services will provide the prize purse for the race. The men’s and women’s champions will each earn $20,000 (USD) in prize money. New for 2015, the total prize purse for the push rim wheelchair division has increased by $24,500 to $84,500, distributed equally among men and women.
This year’s Boston Marathon also marks the 40th anniversary since Bob Hall became the first athlete to participate in a wheelchair, pioneering the division for the sport in the process.
Van Dyk, 42, won an unprecedented tenth Boston Marathon title in 2014, breaking the tape on Boylston Street in 1:20:36. Van Dyk is the all-time winningest athlete in Boston Marathon history, and will try to win his eleventh title since 2001. His 2014 winning time ranked as the second fastest of his ten wins in Boston.
Other top contenders on the men’s side include two-time Boston Marathon winner Masazumi Soejima (JPN), course record holder Joshua Cassidy (CAN), and 2013 champion Hiroyuki Yamamoto (JPN). Yamamoto won the 2013 Boston Marathon in 1:25:32 by two minutes, while Cassidy is the fastest push rim wheelchair marathoner of all time thanks to his 1:18:25 performance in Boston in 2012.
Paralympic Games medalists Kurt Fearnley (AUS), David Weir (GBR), and Marcel Hug (SUI) all will take the starting line in Hopkinton seeking their first Boston Marathon title. All three have been victorious at other Abbott World Marathon Majors races. Kota Hokinoue (JPN), last year’s Boston Marathon second place finisher; and Tomasz Hamerlak (POL), silver medalist in the 2013 IPC World Championships Marathon, also figure to be in contention on the men’s side.
McFadden won her second consecutive Boston Marathon last year in 1:35:06, defeating the field by more than two minutes. McFadden’s win was extra special considering it came on her 25th birthday. In 2014, McFadden would go on to win the London, Chicago, and New York City Marathons for the second year in a row. At the 2015 Boston Marathon, McFadden aims to keep her winning streak alive. She is also a decorated Paralympian, and has represented the United States at both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.
Wakako Tsuchida (JPN), five-time Boston Marathon champion and course record holder (1:34:06); Susannah Scaroni (USA), 2014 Boston Marathon third-place finisher and 2013 Los Angeles Marathon champion; and Shirley Reilly (USA), winner of the Boston and London Paralympic Marathons in 2012, also return aiming for the podium’s top spot. Also highlighting the field are Amanda McGrory (USA), a two-time London Marathon champion who was eighth in Boston last year; and Shelly Woods (GBR), a three-time Paralympic Games medalist.
In 1975, Massachusetts native Bob Hall became the first athlete ever to be officially recognized for completing the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair. Since his triumphant achievement four decades ago, the push rim wheelchair division has grown to see more than 1,470 finishers.
At a press conference on Thursday, April 16, the Boston Athletic Association will detail enhancements to the push rim wheelchair division this year, including a new starting procedure, separated men’s and women’s starts, and an enhanced prize money purse.
About the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)
Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.’s Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial. The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, along with the international marathons in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. More than 60,000 runners will participate in B.A.A. events in 2015. The 119th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 20, 2015. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit www.baa.org.