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2023 champions quotes

Marcel Hug (SUI)

The Swiss ‘Silver Bullet’ Marcel Hug smashed his own course record at the 2023 TCS London Marathon to finish in 1:23:44 and take his tally of wins to five.

On his third consecutive victory:

“It feels amazing to have won my third London Marathon in a row. I’m very happy. Yesterday’s race was really fantastic, and I’m very satisfied with my performance. It feels great.”

On his new course record:

“The course record wasn’t really on my mind before the race yesterday, because the weather conditions were difficult, with the rain and the wind, and in the beginning it was quite a technical race, as I was in a group, but then when I had a gap to the other athletes, I just went as fast as possible and in the last part of the marathon I saw that I was on schedule for a course record.”

On creating a gap early on:

“The plan was to stay in a group for the first couple of kilometres, and to attack after that. It was quite early to be alone, but it didn’t work to have a pack with me. Finally, it was Daniel Romanchuk with me, and I had some memories from last year when we were together until the finish, so I tried to go away from him to avoid a sprint finish, so then I was alone.”

On being alone for so much of the race:

“It’s tough but something I do in training, to hold my pace very high for a long distance like in the marathon, but of course it’s tough with no one to draft and a headwind.”

On equalling David Weir’s eight London Marathon wins:

“I don’t know; I don’t have it in my mind yet to go for his record. I just try to go for every marathon and do my best and see what happens. I don’t know how many years I’ll race so we’ll see.”

On being unbeaten since the 2021 Chicago Marathon:

“I’m in really good shape at the moment and everything is fitting together so well. I’m still very motivated – I’m trying to focus on my own performance, to do the best I can, and improve myself, so every detail of my training and recovery is important. My biggest motivation is to enjoy racing and training. I think it’s a big privilege to be an athlete doing what I love most.”

On whether he thinks he can keep improving:

“I really hope so, it will be more and more difficult to improve, but I think there are still some improvements we can do and I’m still motivated to work on every detail to make it happen.”

On his plans for the rest of the year:

“My highlight now is the World Championships in Paris on the track and then in the fall I’ll be coming back to the marathon.”

Madison de Rozario (AUS)

Reigning Paralympic champion Madison de Rozario became the first Australian woman to win the London Marathon in 2018. She was thrilled to regain her London title yesterday after a stunning sprint finish on The Mall.

On winning the 2023 TCS London Marathon:

“It feels unreal. To come to the finish, with those three women, who are some of the best athletes I’ve ever met in my life, was amazing. It’s been a privilege to race with them over the last few years, so to have that pack coming into the finish made for a very intense last 1200 metres. It’s unreal that I got to the line first.

“It was nice just lining up yesterday morning to be honest [after having to pull out at the last minute in 2022]. And to have Manuela [Schär] cross the line just behind me, when she also had to drop out last year, was really nice.”

On the impact of Covid:

“It was tough, as the Australian border control was very strict – and not just our international borders, but our domestic borders as well – getting interstate was almost impossible, so even getting athletes in one place to race in Australia was incredibly challenging. At the Tokyo Paralympics it was the first time I’d raced in two years, and I made every mistake it was possible to make. It’s only now that I feel I’m getting back into a good groove.”

On racing in a pack of four:

“Initially there were quite a few of us together, but from about 5K it was just the four of us. There were a lot of surges, there was a lot happening and no one was able to drop anyone. At times like that, you look around and try to predict who might go on to win, but I think we all thought we’d probably end up in fourth place.

“There was just so much tension in the last 5K, when you realise it’s far too late to break away and you’re all going to end up in a sprint together, so it was a very intimidating group to be a part of and to come into that last stretch with, but it was an amazing race.”

On the final sprint:

“It was really stressful, but it was really good. Everyone works very hard and very well together, Susannah [Scaroni] and Manuela are probably the strongest two marathoners at the moment, so you know you’re going to get a good, fast race with them. They love to keep the pace very high. I’d never really pushed alongside Catherine [Debrunner] before, so I was taking in a lot of information about how she races.”

On the London Marathon course:

“It’s a very technical course. While there are a few ups and downs, it’s mostly quite flat, but some of the turns are very tricky. The road surface can also be quite tricky to navigate – there’s often only one safe line, so finding that as you’re going, as you’re cornering, can be tricky and that definitely played a part out there.

“A couple of the girls have very strong sprint finishes and I noticed the speed was dropping a bit before we turned into The Mall. As my sprint finish from a low speed is terrible, I needed to be going faster, so I tried to keep the intensity high without burning myself out, which was a tricky balance to find. A mistake can lose you the race in the last seconds, but I managed to make it work – although Manuela was definitely closing the gap in that last 100m.

“I didn’t think I was going to win until the very end. I knew I had a gap because I could hear the commentator, but I remember looking down and seeing her front wheel very close to mine and her kick is unreal. I think if the course had been 100m longer it would have been her race.”

On the emotion of breaking the tape:

“I think it’s a bit of a relief to be honest! All you want at the end of a 42.2K race is to have it done, so to have a sprint at the end is tough. You want to be proud of the whole race, not just the finish. If you’re in a pack, it’s important to share the workload and the other three women raced with a lot of integrity yesterday. So, when you’ve raced like that, and you get the result, it’s a very special feeling.” 

On having great women to race against:

“It’s incredible. It does so much for the sport. As stressful as a finish like that is for us as athletes, it’s great for spectators! Wheelchair racing has so much to offer, so much excitement, and we’re only just starting to discover that.

“The marathon circuit allows us to tap into that. We have a sprint in the middle of the race [the Flying 400] so that adds intensity mid-way through the race, and you wouldn’t find that in a running event, for example, so we need to focus on the wheelchair events and what they can provide, but to do that you need incredible athletes. Marathons provide us with an incredible platform to grow the sport and to play a part in that right now, when the sport is growing and has so much momentum is a real privilege.”

On the reaction to her win in Australia:

“I haven’t been in touch with people at home much, as the time zone is tricky. Australia loves para-athlete sport and I’m going back home tomorrow to see my family. I could hear lots of Australian accents on the course cheering me on yesterday too – the accent is so distinct you can hear it a mile away!”

Sifan Hassan (NED)

The reigning Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan added the 2023 TCS London Marathon crown to her victories yesterday as she made her debut at the distance.

On winning the 2023 TCS London Marathon:

“I feel amazing, I feel drained, to come through, but it was amazing. I feel like just now I’ve started believing it, seriously, I’m not lying, I couldn’t believe it. For the first 10, 20 minutes, I couldn’t believe, I’m really happy, I can’t explain, I’m so grateful.”

On waking up as champion this morning:

“Most of the time, whenever I have a race I couldn’t sleep, but yesterday I wake up in the morning and was like ‘Here we go, finish London’. I remember couple days ago I was like I’ve got one day left, I’ve got two days left, why I do this to myself, every time I wake up I was like I hope London Marathon comes today. Today when I wake up, I had a great sleep and I was like yes, I did the London Marathon, I finish and I win also, so I was happy when I wake up. I’m so grateful when I wake up.

“I have great respect for the marathon and for the people who do the marathon.”

On the atmosphere:

“It was really great. I had a lot of issues when I entered the race. I was so scared, so scared of the marathon like how the hell am I going to do 42km, how I’m going to run. Because your heart is pumping almost to the limit and you’re going to run two hours… and be focusing and running and carry all your kilos around for two hours for three hours. I was like telling myself how I’m going to do this, this is the most hardest thing I have challenge, but when I started, I was like what I'm going to do, when is the pain going to stop. Suddenly I felt something bother me in my leg... I was busy with the leg… how long I’m going to go, I wish I go 25K, at 13K, I can’t get more spirit, I was just so busy with the leg.

“The crowd at the London Marathon is amazing, the people are so amazing, cheering calling my name whenever I’m close to the crowd, I feel like I’m close to 400 people... The way they cheer is like I’m catching them: ‘Sifan’. I feel more energy, I get a lot of energy from the crowd, it’s amazing. There were a lot of people running and cheering.”

On whether she considered pulling out of the race:

“Yes many times, whenever I start to stretch, I thought I can’t go on, but I was thinking to myself ‘okay Sifan here we go’. I wanted to get into the marathon spirit but I started these issues, so I started stretching and I was like let me actually go more than 21K, I want to try and go more than 21K. Then I start to not run, but even like walking… I was like on 21K and I was like thank god I can go two three more kilometres get little bit more spirit from the marathon. I was so tired but I was so grateful for every kilometre, at 25 I was so happy, I was like this is good I reached 25K so I know a little bit about the marathon. When I was on 13K my leg kind of dropped, I didn’t feel it but I was like here we go I’m at 13… I’m going to challenge the marathon pain but I was feeling better.

“I was shocked when I was with the group, when they were ‘we’ve got a winner’ I was actually shocked. I was with the three and when I passed amazing athletes, there were 11 athletes that run sub-2:20, how the hell did I pass these people… I was already celebrating before I finish, not to win but the view, I was already very happy.”

On how the race unfolded:

“I was seeing all the way leader, I have a lot of energy, but for some reason the first 5K I struggle, it was the opposite. So, when people struggle it’s the last 5K, but I was struggling even breathing. I was like I’m already suffering at 5K, how am I going to go 42K.

“I was counting, oh my god at 35K left I’m already suffering. Then at 10K I was so tired and thinking I have 32K left, but after that I seen them I feel so much energy I could even sprint to catch them… But the problem when I little bit increase their legs are catching me, I was like here we go, so I have to calm down, their legs controlled me.”

On reaching the lead group:

“No, I wasn’t thinking that, I was just so happy I was like whatever, I don’t care I’m with the three… I was even looking the time I was running… I don’t care number three or five that I finish with the group I’m grateful, suddenly at 200m I saw the Finish Line, but I don’t want to move… Until the end I thought I don’t want to move, maybe I just stay with them and see what happens.”

On the emotions she felt when she crossed the Finish Line:

“When I was kicking, I was like I kicked then I thought somebody was going to kick me. I couldn’t believe it was the Finish Line. I thought maybe I’m wrong, maybe there’s a couple of kilometres to go so I didn’t kick 100 per cent… Me winning, I just can’t believe it, you’re kidding me. I was so happy, I couldn’t believe it at all.”

On preparing for the TCS London Marathon during Ramadan:

“Two months before, when I decided to run the marathon, I don’t know when I decide to run actually, I was asking myself questions when I decide I talk to my manager, why the hell I decide this time… I remember two months ago he ask me which marathon do you want and I said London, they told me it’s Ramadan but I don’t want to worry about this, I just want to run London. I say I’m not going to fast, it’s OK if I don't run fast also, but then in my heart I’m like 100 per cent I’m going to fast.

“When Ramadan is coming, I was so worried, they sit down with me, I can’t stop fasting, so that was the most challenge, I don’t have confidence for this marathon, I don’t have great preparation as I was fasting. They told me you know you have to practise the drinking, but I can’t do that. So yesterday, and that’s the problem, I don’t know how to drink, I don’t know when to drink.

“When I drink I couldn’t breathe, the air doesn’t come in because I didn’t learn how to drink and how to breathe and the first 25K, 13K was the hardest for me to drink. But luckily I didn’t have any stomach issue and that’s what I was really scared of and the whole month I was doing like 400K during Ramadan is the hardest.”

On balancing marathons with track in the future:

“I really enjoyed the marathon, I even enjoyed the journey, the pain in leg is weird, I hope I don’t have this next time. I really enjoyed it, especially after I finish. I want to do marathons but also want to stay on the track.”

Kelvin Kiptum (KEN)

Fresh from powering to victory at the 2023 TCS London Marathon and setting a new course record of 2:01:25 in the process, Kenyan star Kiptum is certainly one to watch. We spoke with him the day after his London win to hear his thoughts on the event and his running career more broadly.

On winning the London Marathon:

“I feel very happy.”

Could you possibly set a world record in the marathon?

“Maybe in years to come.”

On running through the streets of London yesterday:

“The crowd was all cheering – it was very good. I had a good time.”

On running such a fast second half:

“My plan was not to run that fast. It rained a lot [in the first half] – that was a problem. But the second half was good – no rain.”

Were you looking round? Did you know how far ahead you were at the end?


How has your training prepared you to run in Valencia and London?

“The training I used in Valencia is the same I used in London. Usually I do about 200 or 240 [kilometres a week]. For London I do much longer.”

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

“I’ll try to get selected for the World Championships.”

When did you start running?

“I started running when I finished high school. I wasn’t the best at running when I was in high school … I started running when I was 18.” [Kiptum is now only 23.]

On winning the Valencia and London Marathons:

“No, I never thought I could do those things.”

Closing statement:

“I’m really happy to have won London. I hope to see you next year.”