Find out how to take on the TCS London Marathon for charity 
 
Eden Rainbow Cooper

News

18-04-2024
6

mins

Pre-race quotes - Elite Wheelchair Athletes

The world’s best wheelchair racers look ahead to Sunday’s TCS London Marathon 

Marcel Hug (SUI) 

On the competition he’ll face on Sunday: 

“I’m very excited for the race on Sunday. I think it will be an incredible race at a very high level as there are so many great athletes taking part. David [Weir] who is in absolutely great shape, Tomoki Suzuki, who’s won the Tokyo Marathon, Daniel Romanchuk who’s always one of the favourites especially in a Finish Line sprint.” 
 
On the parity in prize money: 

“I try not to have the prize money in my mind too much at this moment. I try to focus on the race, but it’s really amazing and it really means a lot to us that we have equal prize money and we are treated like this.  

“For us it’s a big privilege that we have organisations like the London Marathon making decisions like this and it’s very important and inspiring example for disability sport but not only sport, other kinds of areas that equality and inclusion is very important and there are so many areas we have to improve so this is really a great example.” 

On crashing during the 2024 Boston Marathon: 

“It was a really terrible crash, so I feel very lucky that it wasn’t worse. Nothing is broken. My left shoulder still hurts a bit, but I hope it won’t have a big impact on Sunday. The others were coming from behind, so there wasn’t really any time to think or have a rest; I just tried to keep going. I was lucky that the chair was OK too.” 

On investment in wheelchair racing: 
 
“It’s good to see big companies, not only Sauber, but other big companies interested in investing in wheelchair sport and racing and supporting us. It helps all of us bring our sport forward.” 

David Weir (GBR)

On what it would mean to win a ninth London Marathon: 
 
“It would be very special. It’s hard to think I’ll have done 25 and won eight, but I’d love to get to number 10. I’ve got to beat this man [Hug] on Sunday but I’ll give it my all like I do every year and give it my best on Sunday. There are a lot of top men at the moment so if I can keep up with them, I’ll be happy.” 

On race tactics during his 25-year career: 
 
“The technology, fitness and training have changed, but tactics haven’t really changed so much.” 

On his personal best at the 2024 Boston Marathon: 
 
“I was aiming for a new personal best; that’s what I wanted to do. I was trying to go for the British record, but I was two minutes away from that, so I’ll try another time.  
 
“I made a lot of changes over the winter; I got a new Swiss chair like Marcel’s and got it fitted in May and picked it up in November and then I went to Dubai to test it on the track and it worked pretty well, so happy days. I also changed my indoor training, got new rollers and changed my training slightly because of my age and that seems to be working.” 

On his new racing chair: 
 
“The team at Sauber have done a fantastic job. It’s the best chair I’ve ever been in and for me it will open the sport to better things. With companies competing the prices will come down on certain material and chairs, which is great for the younger generation coming through. I think it will inspire them to do well in the aluminium chairs then move onto a carbon chair. 

“We needed the sport to move forward, because it was stuck. For years we had the same equipment, and I think it was a wake-up call to the rest of the world and I think it’s a great thing for para sport.” 
 
On competing at the Paris Olympics: 
 
“I got a phone call from British Athletics literally two minutes after the race [at the Dubai Grand Prix] saying we need to have a conversation about the track and it looks like I will give the track a go.  
 
“I’m racing in Switzerland in May so we’ll see how it goes. I’d love to do the 5,000m and maybe the 1500m and Marathon in Paris.” 

On the parity in prize money: 

“I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime. It’s great for the next generation as well, to have equal prize money. 
 
“I think the first year I won it [London] I got paid a couple of thousand pounds by Disability Sport England and I thought it was the best day of my life, to be honest. 

“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.” 

Eden Rainbow-Cooper (GBR)

On the parity in prize money: 

“I’ve been incredibly lucky to come into the sport after all of these guys have advocated and done so much hard work. This is only my third London [Marathon], and to be racing at a time when there’s equal prize money is life-changing for me, and I know so many other athletes my age are seeing that as well.  

“I think it’s just going to push the field further because everyone will know they’ll be able to make a living from it. I think it will create a really competitive field in the future and I’m really excited to see how that goes.” 

On winning the 2024 Boston Marathon on Monday: 
 
“To be totally honest I wasn’t expecting to win. We knew there was a good chance I’d come in the top three, as I’m good downhill but my strength is not climbing. I went all out until the very end and didn’t think I was going to win until I crossed the Finish Line.” 

Madison de Rozario (AUS) 

On the parity in prize money: 

“Big sporting events don’t just exist to give us as athletes the opportunity to get up here and compete. The impact of the equal prize money for us, the individuals who get to race here on Sunday, is enormous, but what’s so much bigger than anything that will happen here in London on Sunday morning, is what it the equal prize money tells the world.  

“How we value people is so intertwined with how we view their ability to earn and our interest in paying them to do things. 

“When we look at an event as big as London, one of the biggest sporting events in the world, choosing to value these two things equally, it is something that hasn’t happened before.” 

On defending her Paralympic marathon title: 
 
“I think we all try to take it one race at a time. I try not to let the Paralympic marathon title to mean too much – I’ve never defended a title in my life, I’ve never been able to back it up with the next win.” 

On her competition on Sunday: 
 
“It’s definitely the strongest it’s ever been in the time that I’ve been racing on the road.  

“Wheelchair marathons are really tactical and strategic – you don’t only need to know your own strengths and weaknesses inside and out, but you also need to know every single one of your competitors and how they’re faring on the day. You need to be aware of how they are tracking, not only historically but also in that moment.  

“The London course suits all of us, because there’s something for everyone, which is why we see sprint finishes like the one last year.” 

Manuela Schär (SUI)

On coming second to Rainbow-Cooper at the 2024 Boston Marathon: 
 
“I was not surprised how well Eden raced [in Boston]. I’ve raced with her for the last two years, and she’s done so well in her marathons so far.  

“She just took off at the start on the downhills – and I struggled a bit down the hills, so I lost a lot of ground there and tried to chase her the whole race. I’m excited that it’s not a downhill course in London.” 

On the parity in prize money: 

“I remember when I stared wheelchair racing, I was about 10 years old and I trained with the generation who had to fight to even get into races like marathons, so to sit here and talk about equal prize money is unbelievable and I feel so lucky to be part of this generation.”