Find out how to take on the TCS London Marathon for charity 
David Weir in Central London ahead of the 2024 TCS London Marathon




David Weir bidding for a ninth victory when he races in the TCS London Marathon

Britain’s wheelchair wizard David Weir will be bidding for a “special” ninth victory when he races in the TCS London Marathon on Sunday, his 25th consecutive appearance at the event he describes as “the world’s greatest”.

With eight London titles, Weir has broken the famous finish tape on The Mall more times than any other elite athlete, male or female, wheelchair racer or able-bodied runner.

It’s an incredible sequence, made even more stunning by the fact that he has never placed outside the top five and has made the podium no fewer than 20 times in his 24 races to date.

Yet at 44, the evergreen Weir is far from finished and has high hopes of notching up a ninth, and even a 10th win, before his long and glittering career finally comes to an end.

“It would certainly be special to win a ninth,” he said ahead of his latest showdown with Switzerland’s three-time winner Marcel Hug. “It’s hard to imagine I have done 25 and won eight, to be honest.

“I would love to win 10 but it’s going to be tough on Sunday with Marcel in form and a lot of top guys in the field. If I can keep up with them, I would be happy with that.”

Keeping up with the world’s best is what the six-time Paralympic champion has been doing for 25 years at the event he sees as his first love, the one race he has never missed – from his debut as a hungry 20-year-old in 2000, when he finished fourth, to his first victory two years later, to his most recent win in 2018.

“They all mean something to me,” he reflected on Thursday after receiving an award to mark his achievement from London Marathon Event Director Hugh Brasher. “My first win in 2002 was special because I was a nobody. And the last two wins [in 2017 and 2018] were special too, because I was going through some difficult times.

“I hope I can get another one on Sunday. It depends on that machine down there. We’ll see.”

“The machine down there” is a new Swiss-made carbon racing chair that Weir described as “the best I’ve ever been in”, one to match Hug’s own high-tech wheels. With a third-place finish at the Boston Marathon on Monday, he certainly feels close to his best-ever form.

“I’ve made a lot of changes over the winter,” he said. “With this chair I could feel the difference straight away. I was aiming for a personal best on Monday and even the British record.

“I know I’m going to be 45 in a couple of months, but I feel 25.”

In fact, Weir’s love affair with London goes back even further, starting when he won seven Mini London Marathons as a raw and eager junior, another event record. Indeed, he is still the only athlete, wheelchair or able-bodied, to win both the mini and senior events.

For Brasher, Weir’s continued presence on the London Start Line is nothing less than “an honour and a privilege”.

“For any elite athlete in any sport to be the best for so long is an incredible achievement,” he said. “To be competitive for so long in the most difficult marathon in the world is inspiring for so many other athletes.

“Thank you for all that you’ve done.”

Weir had reason to offer thanks too, praising the race organisers for their ground-breaking decision to offer equal prize money to disabled and able-bodied athletes – the first marathon in the world to do so. All winners in the 2024 elite races will receive $55,000 (£44,000), with the runner-up earning $30,000 (£24,000) and third place getting $22,500 (£18,000).

“I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime,” said Weir. “The first year I won London I was paid a couple of thousand pounds by Disability Sport England and thought it was the best day of my life.

“I wish this had happened 10 years ago, but it’s happening now and it’s great for the next generation.

“The London Marathon has always pushed disability sport and listened to us. It’s set the benchmark. For me, that’s why it’s greatest marathon in the world.”

Praise indeed, from the event’s greatest athlete.