David Weir and Shelly Woods triumphant at the Müller 2021 Wheelchair Marathon in Thruxton

Weir, Woods and Jones

David Weir and Shelly Woods showed their quality in tough conditions at the Thruxton venue as they recorded victories at the inaugural Müller 2021 Wheelchair Marathon.

Pictured here at London with Shelley Woods, David weir  scored a comprehensive win in the men’s marathon, but he was pushed over the opening 14km of the 42km over 12-laps  by Danny Sidbury who would eventually finish second with a personal best.

Sidbury led from Weir in the opening stages with the multiple Paralympic champion tucking in behind the Sutton & District athlete as the wind continued to pick up around the circuit. JohnBoy Smith was tracking their every move early on, while Michael McCabe who was completing the half marathon distance, followed behind.

As they entered the finishing straight to embark on their fifth lap, Weir had opened a small lead on Sidbury, and he never looked back. At one stage, he was on track for the 1:35 pace but as the gusty conditions added to the complex nature of the task ahead, he crossed the line in 1:44:45.

Sidbury was not far behind, crossing the line in 1:46:01, taking 23 seconds off his previous best. Meanwhile, as JohnBoy Smith dropped out, Callum Hall (Leeds City) moved into third place after the halfway mark persevering to 1:48:20 at the end.

As reported by British Athletics, Weir said post-race, “To be honest, it is probably one of the toughest marathons I have done in a long time. Quite a tough one to start the season but I’m just thankful that we could get out and do something. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have had a marathon until Tokyo. It’s good practice and it shows me what I need to do in the next phase of training. For this time of the year, I’m in pretty good shape, probably the best shape I’ve been in for as long as I can remember. So, I’m pretty pleased with the performance.

“It’s nice to be out and see some of the lads as well and see these young athletes competing in the marathon distance.

“I haven’t got the top ten athletes here and I was going out on my own, but I felt pretty strong all the way around. Usually it takes me a few marathons to get up to speed. I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity to race abroad at some point, so we’ll have to see. It’s a good start so I am happy.”

In similar fashion and what she described as the ‘toughest marathon she’s ever done’, Shelly Woods won the women’s marathon in a time of 2:00:40.

Working with Sammi Kinghorn around the first six laps, Woods clocked her fastest 3.6km lap of 9:39:1 on in the first loop and she showed patience as she took on the final half of the marathon in a solo effort. It was a solid push over the final few laps as she took the win to show her credentials in Paralympic year.

Woods said afterwards, “It was very very tough. I was aiming for 1:58 (the Minimum Entry standard for the Paralympics) but I was just outside it. But with those conditions I am quite pleased with the time I did. It was brutal out there but, it is great to race. There aren’t many opportunities to race at the moment, especially the big marathons, so it’s amazing that British Athletics were able to put this event on.

“My training has been going well and I’ve proved I can do a good time. I’m still coming back after I had my son. I had some time out after London Paralympics and didn’t go to Rio. It’s my son’s fourth birthday today, so I’m still steadily getting my times back up there. I feel like I’m getting better all the time, so that is a good thing.”

Mel Nicholls was second placed female athlete in the 26.2-mile race, recording a time of 2:22:48.

Athletes also had the option of competing over the half marathon or the 10km at Thruxton due to limited competition opportunities over the last year.

The aforementioned Kinghorn finished 13.1 miles in 58 minutes following a solid push, while Michael McCabe was the first male finisher over the distance in 56:14.

Only two athletes competed over 10km; multiple European medallist Ben Rowlings was the first across the line in 30:28, while World Para Athletics Junior champion Zien Zhou was second in 33:35.

Müller 2021 Wheelchair Marathon results

Müller 2021 Wheelchair Half Marathon results link

Müller 2021 Wheelchair 10k results link

All runbritain results here