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Women's Wheelchair report: McGrory triumphs in course record

17 April 2011

American Amanda McGrory broke the course record to take her second women's Virgin London Wheelchair Marathon title in a sprint finish ahead of Shelly Woods.

McGrory had predicted that if the weather was right then records could be broken, and women enjoyed perfect conditions. McGrory proved herself right, recording 1:46:31, nearly two minutes faster than the Swiss Sandra Graf's 2009 record, as the first four finished inside the old mark.

Last Sunday she won the Paris Marathon, and the 24-year-old, who began marathon racing in response to a bribe, was ecstatic to pick up her second title in a week.

"To come here after winning two marathons back to back is huge. It is a wonderful career highlight," said the University of Illinois student. "It feels just as good as the first time. It's great to have beaten these athletes.

"With about a mile to go there was still four in within a chance, but I was confident in my finishing speed. I looked down at my clock and thought the record could be on."

McGrory denied Britain a wheelchair one-two as she outsprinted Woods who was given the same time.

Woods' one win here came in 2007 and since then she has suffered from a series of punctures. But she has recently changed coaches and felt in great shape coming into this race. The 24-year-old looked strong throughout the race but McGrory edged her out on the line.

"I was chilled out in the race and was feeling my way round. Everyone has a plan and you always know it could be a sprint, so I was saving some energy for the finish", said Woods.

"I can see my Mum saying, ‘Can she just not do that last bit?'" she added. "But there's been a dark cloud over this marathon for the last few years for me, so it's great to be among the world's best women".

Graf finished third in 1:46:33, with debutante Tatyana McFadden, McGrory's team-mate, clocking 1:46:34 in fourth.

With 500 days to go to the inaugural London 2012 Paralympic Games, McGrory has now joined the fans of this city's marathon. "This is an awesome marathon," she said. "Even though the record was broken today, 1:43 is still possible here in the future. Now this race is over, it's ok to look forward to the big event in 2012."