Flying 400 introduced to elite wheelchair Races at 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon
- 400m time trial to feature within main race
- $30,000 prize fund and Abbott World Marathon Majors bonus points offered
The Virgin Money London Marathon is introducing an exciting new competition within the elite wheelchair races in 2019, which form part of the 2019 World Para Athletics Marathon Championships.
The Flying 400 is a sprint competition that will see a $30,000 prize fund and Abbott World Marathon Majors bonus points awarded to the fastest wheelchair athletes in the men’s and women’s races to complete a specified 400 metre time trial section of the Virgin Money London Marathon course.
The Flying 400 will start just after the 20km point (12.5 miles) on the north side of Tower Bridge and finish on East Smithfield.The fastest athlete between these two points of the course in both the men’s and women’s wheelchair races will win $10,000, with the runner-up receiving $5,000.
The fastest finisher of the 400m sprint will also be awarded eight bonus points in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII rankings.
The elite wheelchair men are expected to reach the Flying 400 start point at approximately 09:48 with the elite wheelchair women due to arrive at the point at 09:52.
The prize money has been provided jointly by Abbott World Marathon Majors and London Marathon Events Ltd.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “We want to celebrate wheelchair racing as we host the 2019World Para Athletics Marathon Championships and this will be the first time that prize money will be awarded for the Abbott World Marathon Majors bonus point competition. The world’s top wheelchair athletes, who have been involved in the development of the time trial concept, are looking forward to it.”
Tim Hadzima, Executive Director of Abbott World Marathon Majors, said: “We have been working hard to promote elite wheelchair marathon racing and this new initiative, which has been developed with conversations with the athletes, is once again showing leadership in sport.”
The Flying 400 is part of Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII bonus points competition which was introduced for Series XII, starting at the BMW Berlin Marathon in September 2018 and finishing in Berlin in 2019. Each race decides whether to award the bonus points to the first wheelchair athlete past a single point marker on the course or to stage a point-to-point time trial challenge.
Abbott World Marathon Majors is the collective of the Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, TCS New York City Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Boston Marathon.
Athletes score points for their finishing place in each race in a Series with the top three male and female marathon runners and wheelchair athletes at the end of each cycle receiving prize money.
Any athlete can win the prize money on offer in the Flying 400, but Daniel Romanchuk (USA) and Manuela Schar (SUI) the current series leaders, who have both already won the maximum of three bonus point sprints this Series, cannot claim any more sprint points in SeriesXII but can stop other racers doing so if they take the top spot.