Chicago, IL — This year’s Chicago Wheelchair Marathon is expecting 27 Paralympians and a big increase in prize money, making it the most competitive wheelchair race yet.
One of the crowd favorites, Taytana McFadden, is thrilled to participate in the biggest wheelchair marathon in all of Chicago.
“Having 27 Paralympians is huge,” McFadden told reporters on the eve of the race. “I think it brings it to a whole other level.”
Along with McFadden comes Daniel Romanchuck, who won the race last year. According to records, he was also the youngest athlete to win the New York Marathon.
The 21-year-old Romanchuk finished the marathon Sunday with a time of 1:30:26, a minute faster than the time for his 2018 win. Romanchuck also won this year’s Boston and London Marathons.
“I know my limits more than I did,” Romanchuk said. “I think training has been going well, I don’t like to make any assumptions about any race. We’ll see.”
Fellow Illinois wheelchair athlete Aaron Pike finished 7th in Chicago, with a time of 1:33:34.
Swiss Paralympian athlete Manuela Schaer won in the women’s division, with a time of 1:41:08. Three contenders with ties to the U of I finished behind her. Tatyana Mcfadden placed second at 1:45:22. Amanda McGrory and Susannah Scaroni finished third and fourth respectively, with identical times of 1:45:29.
Romanchuk, McFadden, and Scaroni all qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics with their times Sunday.
The total prize money for the men’s and women’s para-athletics field has been increased to $134,500 from $98,500 last year. And the marathon will serve as the United States Paralympic Team Trials for the second time.
Furthermore, the marathon benefits from its proximity to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is where some of the world’s premier wheelchair athletes, including McFadden, have trained.
The American will be up against returning champion Manuela Schar of Switzerland, who has enjoyed a dream stretch of results, winning in New York, Tokyo, Boston, and London.