Courtesy Kim Romanchuk
This year, due to the postponement of COVID-19, all five major international marathons (collectively known as the World Marathon Majors) will be held within 42 days of each other.
Tokyo, Boston and London are usually held in the spring, and Berlin, Chicago and New York are held in the fall. However, Tokyo was canceled this year and the rest were pushed together from September 26th to November 7th.
This is an unprecedented crunch.
And madness peaks this weekend, as Chicago and Boston are only one day apart on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Elite professional runners will not race 26.2 miles in both cities.
Not even Desiree Linden, 38, who won the 2018 Boston Marathon on a freezing day with heavy rain. When looking at the 2021 race calendar, Linden says he wasn’t tempted to run a double and chose to race only in Boston on Monday.
“Boston has always been a priority,” she says. “It wouldn’t have been possible to run Boston in high quality after the Chicago race,” he said, citing the recovery time between the two races being too short. “Attempts are likely to result in injury,” she added.
However, some of the best wheelchair racers in the world will compete in both races within 24 hours.
Not only do they face the physical consequences of a 26.2 mile continuous race and the challenges of hydration, refueling and proper sleep during ultra-tight turnarounds, but they also have a pile of equipment, unlike the field of regular runners. Must be broken.
Therefore, after crossing the finish line in Chicago, Tatyana McFadden’s parents took her chair, packed her luggage, took an early flight to Boston with her luggage, and Tatiana, the 22nd major marathon winner, Take a shower and eat. Catch your next flight with just your carry-on baggage.
“It’s really great to get help along the way,” says McFadden. “I have a lot of good help,” such as Boston relatives bringing homemade suppers as needed.
Charles Kurpa / AP
For elite wheelchair racers, the calendar stack is doubled
Still, McFadden says her travel delays, storms, traffic, or post-race drug tests will arrive in Boston in time for chair reassembly, COVID-19 testing, race packet reading, and numbering. I know it can pollute my plans. Prepare your equipment, eat, sleep properly, wake up the next day, and start at 8:05 am, about 40 minutes drive from your Boston hotel to the Hopkinton start line. Therefore, McFadden booked two different flights in case he did not create the first flight.
Even if she boarded the plane, baggage handlers could derail her in Boston. The 32-year-old McFadden had only one race chair and was late on his way to the Berlin Marathon in September.
“We don’t have a few days to wait here,” says training mate Daniel Romanchuk, who won twice in Chicago and once in Boston.
For Romanchuk and other elite wheelchair racers, the pile of calendars is doubly fierce as they are trying to collect points for the title of the World Marathon Majors series, which will be awarded after the New York City Marathon on November 7. .. Based on the athlete’s best 5 results in 10 major marathons (including the Tokyo Paralympics).
Romanchuk and Marsiegg of Switzerland are fighting for the lead, so Romanchuk can’t smash a 20-pound race chair as it was used on about 30% of flights this weekend. : “Box.”
It’s a container in his chair, and he claims it can’t be destroyed. “You can also throw, which is great because I flew from the baggage chute at 20mph in the last two times I flew to O’Hare,” he says. “Last time I was about to hit someone. I was stripping off my belt and slipping on the floor, but nothing was damaged inside! It’s a tank!”
Still, Romanchuk never misses a chance. “My dad will come to Boston with all the other equipment, including helmets, chairs, wheels and gloves. [custom made on a 3-D printer]… all. “
Richard Drew / AP
“My goal is to survive for everyone [remaining] race”
When it comes to nutrition, neither Romanchuk nor McFadden will rely on airline or airport food maintenance. McFadden stuffs his tuna, bread and fruits.Romantic puts the usual peanut butter and jelly in tortillas and packs With lots of Clif Bar – and maybe fellow travelers will notice his name and image of the rapper. (Clif Bar is one of his sponsors.)
To combat stiffness between races, McFadden says he might tape the small muscles of his shoulders, but “we crouch in a chair, blood flow is restricted, and the road... “ Also, as people swell during flight, McFadden is likely to spend about an hour at night in Boston, putting his feet in an inflatable Normatec sleeve that is said to use air compression to help circulation, she said. Says. If she has other tight spots, she may deploy Seragan, a mechanical massage device that strikes muscles with a jackhammer-like movement.
This weekend, McFadden will be the only elite female wheelchair racer to double in Chicago and Boston. At first she wondered, “Is it too wild to do both?” She says. Her coach said no to her, which would be historic. “I was trying,” she says.
“My goal is to survive for everyone,” says McFadden. [remaining] Athletes named “Beasts” tend to sprint uphill and punish their players, and winning eight Chicago Marathons, five Boston Marathons, and five New York City Marathons seems to be a modest goal. is. , And London four times in a row.
But her coach (and Romanchuk coach) Adam Bleakney can see two wheelchair course records set this weekend, even though they were held on consecutive days. I think it might be.
“Runners can’t do that,” says Bleakney. “In running, there isn’t much of a limit before you can take a step and apply more force to keep moving, but applying force to the wheels of a racing chair will increase the number or revs during the recovery phase. (When the athlete’s hand is off the steering wheel) – That is, move farther on flat ground than taking a step.
“If the wheel is involved, the impact is different, so athletes can often withstand more training. [or mileage] More than a runner, “he says.
What they consider to be the greatest danger of racing two marathons within 24 hours
Nonetheless, McFadden and Romanchuk did the most training this spring and summer to prepare for the Tokyo Paralympics. At peak times, the duo trained 150-200 miles a week, says Bleakney. Still, Romanchuk doesn’t remember training 26 miles for two consecutive days.
After all, the biggest danger of racing two marathons (or five in a row) within 24 hours will not be mileage, fatigue, or loss of equipment. For top wheelchair athletes, the biggest danger is sitting at the airport, on the plane, on the move to the hotel, at the starting line, everywhere.
Pressure wounds are fatal.
“When one area is over-pressurized and the tissue dies and forms a wound, they form,” says Dr. Kim Romanchuk, a retired radiologist at Daniel’s mother. A typical warning sign is pain. “But many wheelchair athletes are unaware because they may not have the usual sensations,” she says.
In fact, Daniel Romanchuk was under pressure in Tokyo this summer and had to abolish one of the six Paralympic events. It was on his right hip and it wasn’t from the race.
“He kneels on the racing chair, which puts more pressure on the knees and lower limbs of the racing chair,” explains the mother.
“I often sit in super shorts. [track] Race.With athlete village [venue], Chair preparation / maintenance, event waiting, meal traffic, laundry, medical care, plane travel (airport travel time, plane waiting time, etc.). All of this together makes the wound worse and, in a big way, endangers your health.
“Scratches can go south very quickly without warning. They interfere with real life,” she says.
Therefore, in addition to the race gear, Romanchuk moves with a green pencil case containing bandages, tape, and a scalpel for wound excision, if necessary.
“The pencil case has traveled many times over the last five years to all continents except Africa and Antarctica,” his mother says.
The constant risk also finds that the 23-year-old Romanchuk, with a wingspan of 6 feet-10, is trying to balance what is best for healing wounds and what is most important to him in life and career. It means that there are many things.
But for now, he is healthy and completely focused on the race.
“It will probably be a bit painful, but you know, I have to go to all of them,” says Romanchuk. “Chicago was my first marathon and my first win. It’s a kind of home race because I live two hours away. Boston is very symbolic. There are a lot of climbs in New York and I love mountaineering. Don’t miss it. “”
In addition, as Brigney said, “This year is a unique year. There will never be a series of races from Sunday to Monday, if possible.”
Marathon runners and elite wheelchair racers face an unprecedented crisis this year: NPR
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