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Grey-Thompson receives the John Disley Award




Grey-Thompson receives the John Disley Award

Wheelchair legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson was presented with the prestigious John Disley Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 TCS London Marathon on Sunday. 

The six-times London Marathon winner was handed the award by three-times women’s champion Paula Radcliffe during elite race presentations. 

“It was a really lovely surprise,” said Grey-Thompson who also won 11 Paralympic Games gold medals before swapping her racing chair for the microphone.  

“The London Marathon has been a big part of my life since I watched Chris Hallam win the men’s wheelchair race in 1985 when I was 12 years old. And then I competed in my first race when I was 19.  

“Now I’ve been on the London Marathon board for eight years so I know this is a special event. It just has everything.  

“I never thought I would see a squirrel in a wheelchair, as I did today, for example. You see the whole gamut of humanity and the course takes you through all the iconic parts of the city.” 

The BBC commentator follows a number of British athletics stars who have received the award since it was created in 2015. They include Radcliffe, the first British men’s champion Hugh Jones and former Olympic athlete and commentator Brendan Foster, as well as last year’s winner, Liz McColgan, who won the women’s elite race in 1996. 

Grey-Thompson was commentating on the wheelchair races again this year, describing the action as Swiss pair Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner took the men’s and women’s titles respectively. 

It was a record fourth win for Hug, while David Weir celebrated his 25th consecutive London Marathon by placing third, a 21st podium finish for the Briton. Debrunner reclaimed the women’s title she won in 2022 with an imperious performance, leading from start to finish to win by more than six minutes. 

For the first time, the wheelchair winners received equal prize money (£44,000) to the elite runners, a move towards pay parity warmly welcomed by Grey-Thompson. 

“It’s a brilliant development for the elite wheelchair athletes, who have to make a living from racing,” she said. “I always hoped we would get here. 

“Sport has played a really important role in my life and I’m excited to see the changes.”