Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär Win Wheelchair Titles at the 2022 Boston Marathon

Manuela Schär of Switzerland led wire-to-wire, while American Daniel Romanchuk claimed his second Boston title.

126th boston marathon
Maddie MeyerGetty Images

Two dominant performances highlighted the wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18. Manuela Schär of Switzerland won the women’s race in 1:41:08 and American Daniel Romanchuk claimed the men’s title in 1:26:58.

Both athletes added to their growing collection of World Marathon Major wins at the 126th Boston Marathon, which returned to Patriots’ Day for the first time in three years amid cancellations and postponements caused by the pandemic.

Three years after Romanchuk became the youngest push rim race winner in Boston history, the two-time Paralympian claimed his second victory on the Boston Marathon course.

“That was a tough race, pretty good morning, weather was nice, but it’s always great to be back here in Boston on Patriots’ Day,” Romanchuk said on the NBC television broadcast.

Schär led the women’s race wire-to-wire, a victory that was made all the more impressive given that she came down with COVID during her training buildup.

“It's been quite difficult to prepare for this,” Schär said on the NBC television broadcast. “I got COVID a few weeks ago, so I couldn’t train as hard as I wished. I didn’t quite know where I stand. So, yeah I was a bit nervous and then I just didn’t know how my body would react in the marathon and it was quite windy, bit of headwind all the way, but then I felt pretty well. Yeah, this one is a special one.”

Here’s a full breakdown of the 2022 Boston wheelchair races.

The Winners: Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär

126th boston marathon
Daniel Romanchuk of the United States crosses the finish line and takes first place in the men’s wheelchair division during the 126th Boston Marathon.
Maddie MeyerGetty Images

In 2019, Romanchuk won the World Marathon Majors series crown with victories in Boston, London, Chicago, and New York City. In 2021, the 23-year-old won the Chicago Marathon and competed at his second Paralympics. In Tokyo, he won the gold medal in the 400 meters and claimed bronze in the marathon. In November 2021, he finished third in the New York City Marathon.

Last fall, Schär won her third straight World Marathon Majors series title. The Swiss athlete claimed wins at the 2019 Chicago and New York City marathons before the pandemic delayed the series. She finished second in the elite-only 2020 London Marathon before winning the Berlin, London, and Boston marathons in 2021. Schär sealed her series victory with a third-place finish at the New York City Marathon in November 2021.

During the elite athlete press conference on April 15, Schär told reporters that she caught COVID during her training buildup for Boston. Schär said she tested positive a few weeks ago, which proved to be a bigger setback than she anticipated.

“It actually took me quite a while to get back to that really intense training that I really wanted to do before Boston, so we’ll see,” Schar said. “I guess I’m missing a bit of speed and I’ll find out on Monday.”

Where the Race Was Won

126th boston marathon
Manuela Schar of Switzerland poses after winning the women’s wheelchair division during the 126th Boston Marathon.
Maddie MeyerGetty Images

In the women’s race, Schär didn’t leave anything to chance in her bid to win her fourth Boston Marathon title. From the start, the Swiss athlete took advantage of the early declines by charging down the hills, establishing a 40-second lead over the rest of the field 5K into the race.

By the halfway point, Schär was 1:34 ahead of the competition, splitting 46:50 for 13.1 while American Susannah Scaroni trailed behind in the runner-up position.

After powering through Heartbreak Hill, Schär continued to push her lead with no competitors in sight. Ultimately, she reached the finish line more than five minutes ahead of runner-up Scaroni, who crossed the finish line in 1:46:20. Madison De Rozario of Australia placed third in 1:52:48.

In the men’s race, Romanchuk made a gradual move to the front along the early sections of the course.

Just after the 5K, Romanchuk and his training partner Aaron Pike worked together to pass early leader Hiroki Nishida of Japan, who aggressively led the field through the first 5K split in 10:08:39.

“I was actually kind of surprised I was able to stick with [Pike] and a number of other people on some of the downhills. That’s a place that I’ve been kind of working on,” Romanchuk said. “It’s always great to be pushing with a teammate.”

By 20K, Romanchuk had pulled away from Pike. He led the field through the halfway point in 41:17, 28 seconds ahead of his training partner.

While navigating the famous Newton Hills, the 2019 Boston Marathon winner continued to put distance between himself and the rest of the field. By the time Romanchuk hit the 20-mile mark, he was almost three and a half minutes ahead of Pike.

Romanchuk remained unchallenged through the final 6.2 and sealed his victory on Boylston Street with almost six minutes separating himself from Pike, who finished second in 1:32:49. Johnboy Smith of Great Britain finished third in 1:32:55.

The Top 10

Men’s race

  1. Daniel Romanchuk, USA, 1:26:58
  2. Aaron Pike, USA, 1:32:49
  3. Johnboy Smith, Great Britain, 1:32:55
  4. Kota Hokinoue, Japan, 1:34:06
  5. Patrick Monahan, Ireland, 1:34:38
  6. Rafael Jiménez Botello, Spain, 1:34:38
  7. Joshua Cassidy, Canada, 1:35:02
  8. Hermin Garic, USA, 1:35:38
  9. Hiroki Nishida, Japan, 1:38:53
  10. Simon Lawson, Great Britain, 1:39:04

    Women’s race

    1. Manuel Scar, Switzerland, 1:41:08
    2. Susannah Scaroni, USA, 1:46:20
    3. Maidson De Rozario, Australia, 1:52:48
    4. Yen Hoang, USA, 1:55:27
    5. Jenna Fesemyer, USA, 1:55:59
    6. Shelly Woods, Great Britain, 1:56:18
    7. Vanessa De Souza, Brazil, 1:56:23
    8. Michelle Wheeler, USA, 2:08:29
    9. Margriet Van Den Broek, Netherlands, 2:10:37
    10. Eva Houston, USA, 2:32:12

      The Top Americans

      In the women’s race, Scaroni made a triumphant return to competition after being hit by a driver in a car during training in September 2021. The collision, in which she suffered a burst fracture of her T8 vertebrae, forced the Paralympic gold medalist to withdraw from the 2021 Boston Marathon. Her runner-up finish in Boston marked her first race since recovering from the accident.

      The men’s race saw a 1-2 sweep by Americans and training partners Romanchuk and Pike, who train under coach Adam Bleakney in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

      The Prize Money

      • 1st place: $25,000
      • 2nd place: $15,000
      • 3rd place: $7,500

        The Late Withdrawals

        In the days heading into the race, two past champions announced their withdrawal from the competition on Patriots’ Day.

        Hours before the start of the Boston Marathon, Marcel Hug pulled out of the race. No reason was given for his withdrawal from the men’s field.

        During the elite press conference on April 15, the five-time Boston winner and course record-holder shared that he came down with COVID just 12 days earlier. “I feel good now, feel healthy. But I had to stop training for several days,” he said. “Goals still stand. First priority is, I hope to win the race. If the weather conditions are good and I feel good, I want to try to attack the course record. But I know with this situation, this preparation, it will be more difficult.”

        In what was meant to be a tuneup for the marathon, Hug won the BAA 5K in 10:05 on April 16 in Boston. Known as the “silver bullet” in elite marathon circles, Hug reclaimed the World Marathon Majors series crown last fall. The Swiss athlete won five out of six races in 2021 to defeat Romanchuk, the defending series champion.

        Three days before the race, five-time Boston winner Tatyana McFadden also announced her withdrawal from the competition. In an Instagram post, the 24-time World Marathon Majors champion shared that she had to pull out of the race because of medical reasons related to a blood clotting disorder she’s battled since 2017.

        “Unfortunately, that really affects levels in your blood, one of them would be iron levels, for women especially. And because you're on a blood thinner that makes your blood really, really thin, that can just throw it off all the time,” McFadden told reporters on Friday. “Everything was going really well, and the doctor says, you know, eventually, we will be iron deficient, we just don't know when. It’s going to be a ticking time bomb.”

        “This year, I got a new coach. Training was going really well, so I was expected to do really, really well here. And then I started not to feel so good,” McFadden said, explaining that she had difficulty getting out of bed after sleeping more than 10 hours every night. A blood test revealed that she was in critical condition. “I sat at the doctor's office for like an hour, really upset and crying because I had been training since January for Boston. I made a lot of really good changes. I was really looking forward to it, so I was really bummed.”

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