Virgin Money London Marathon introduces sprint time trial for wheelchair athletes

Wheelchair athletes compete in the Virgin Money London Marathon

The Virgin Money London Marathon will include a new competition within the elite wheelchair races this year.

The Flying 400 is a sprint competition that will see wheelchair athletes in the men’s and women’s races to compete in a 400-metre time trial section of the Virgin Money London Marathon course.

The Flying 400 will start on the north side of Tower Bridge, just after the 20km point of the race, and it will finish on East Smithfield. A $30,000 prize fund and Abbott World Marathon Majors bonus points will be awarded to the winners of the time trial.

The fastest athlete over thew 400m section in both the men’s and the women’s wheelchair races will win $10,000 and the runner up in each race will receive $5,000. The fastest finisher will also be awarded eight bonus points in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII rankings.

“This will be the first time that prize money will be awarded for the Abbott World Marathon Majors bonus point competition,” Hugh Brasher, event director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said. “The world’s top wheelchair athletes, who have been involved in the development of the time trial concept, are looking forward to it.”

Tim Hadzima, executive director of Abbott World Marathon Majors, added: “We have been working hard to promote elite wheelchair marathon racing and this new initiative, which has been developed with conversations with the athletes, is once again showing leadership in sport.”

The elite wheelchair men are expected to reach the Flying 400 start point at approximately 9:48am, with the elite wheelchair women expected to arrive at 9:52am.

The Flying 400 is part of Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII bonus points competition, introduced for Series XII, which started at the Berlin Marathon in September 2018 and will end in Berlin in 2019. Each race can decide whether to award bonus points to the first wheelchair athlete past a single point marker on the course, or to stage a time trial between two points.

Abbott World Marathon Majors is the collective competition of marathons in London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Boston. Athletes score points for their finishing place in each race in a series and the top three male and female marathon runners and wheelchair athletes at the end of the series receives prize money.

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