The New York Marathon on Nov. 5 will essentially serve as the U.S. Paralympic competition, with up to four wheelchair racers eligible to become the first athletes in any sport to make a team for the 2024 Paris Games. .
The top two Americans by gender qualify, provided they record a minimum qualifying time in the period that began last October and are ranked in the top 10 in the world for women and top 20 for men.
Susannah Scaroni already has that time and order.
The 32-year-old started racing in major marathons in 2011 and collected second and third places before really breaking out on the track with gold in the 5000m at the Tokyo Paralympics.
The following month, she crashed a car during practice in Illinois, breaking her vertebrae. She sat out the entire fall 2021 marathon season.
She returned in 2022 in the best form of her life – winning her first major title in Chicago, then going on to win in New York and Boston to replace Switzerland’s Manuela Schär as the world’s best.
Scaroni described her victory in New York last year – in a course record – in a similar way to how she felt after winning the 5,000m track at the Tokyo Olympics: shock.
“I totally didn’t expect what happened to happen,” she said. “But honestly, it doesn’t change how I’m going to approach this year.”
If Scaroni is the clear favorite for one U.S. Paralympic spot, then the other could be a bone of contention.
Tatyana McFadden is a record 24-time World Marathon Champion, her last win coming in Chicago in 2021.
She finished second to Scaroni in Chicago last year, then finished outside the top two Americans in New York (Yen Hoang was the No. 2 American) and London (Jenna Fesemyer).
On the men’s side, Daniel Romanchuk is an eight-time major winner, most recently in Boston in 2022. He has consistently been the top American at the majors, surpassed only by Switzerland’s Marcel Hug.
Aaron Pike, a six-time summer-winter Paralympian, and Evan Correll, competing in his first Paralympics, have traded second-place finishes for the U.S. at recent majors, although Correll does not yet have a Paralympic qualifying standard time.
“Daniel will be top [American] finisher, has always been the best climber in the world, and the New York City Marathon has the highest elevation of any major marathon,” Pike wrote. “It could be a close race between me and Evan. Like Daniel, he’s a great climber and he does better in NYC than in any other big marathon.”
More athletes could make the Paralympic marathon team, but that is not expected to be determined until the track and field trials in July.
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