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'It was brilliant to cross the line first'
A Wallington resident had good reason to celebrate on Sunday after crossing the Flora London Marathon finishing line first in the Men's Wheelchair Event.
David Weir, 22, beat thousands of competitors from all over the world to win the champion's trophy after completing the 26-mile course in just one hour 39 minutes and 45 seconds.
And not only has David won the London Marathon this year, but he has also set a record as the only man in a wheelchair to win both the mini marathon and the full marathon.
David, who has finished third and fourth in the two previous years, said: "It was a childhood dream to win the London Marathon and I'm extremely happy with how the race went. I was sure people were going to catch up with me when I made a break away but they didn't. It was brilliant to cross the line first and with a personal best time.
"I have got slight twinges in my elbows now but I feel fine. I wore special gloves to protect my hands and only used my thumbs to bounce the wheel to keep the chair going."
David's family and friends, who were present at the event, watched as he was presented with his trophy by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. He will also receive a letter of congratulations from the Mayor of Sutton, Councillor John Leach.
David will now fly to Switzerland to work on improving his qualifying times for the world championships in Lille, France, in July. There, he will be competing in the 100m, 200m and 400m races a far cry from his 26-mile trek through London.
Other Sutton London Marathon winners were:
* Clare Toogood, 30, completed the marathon in four hours 34 minutes.
* Phil Wicks, 18, finished in three hours 24 minutes. He was running to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation as he suffered from the illness as a young child and hopes to collect more than £1,200.
* Mary-Lou Cowdy ran the distance in four hours 59 minutes and 53 seconds, raising £3,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
* Trudy Kuhn, from North Cheam, ran the marathon in three hours and 50 minutes. She was raising money for the Wishbone Trust.
April 18, 2002 11:00