Hello again. I often get asked about the best races to compete in or just the ones I enjoy the most. I’ve been thinking about it recently, so I thought it would be a great idea to give you my top 5 race list. So, here goes;
Virgin London Marathon
London is definitely right up there because of the atmosphere. The British Public love their sport and so the crowds are wall to wall from start to finish and you just don’t get that anywhere else. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, people always come out and support the runners and that’s what makes it brilliant. It’s not the best or the fastest course for wheelchairs, but I love it because of the spectators. I think this year’s race was the best yet. People really wanted to make a statement because the London event came so close to the Boston Marathon bombing, and it really made the atmosphere electric. I loved it.
(Picture courtesy of Teecefammily: David Weir in the 2012 Paralympic Marathon)
New York Marathon
This is a really well organised race which in many ways reminds me a lot of London. They treat everyone the same from wheelchair to able-bodied athletes and in terms of the race itself, it just suits me as a course. There are a lot of climbs, and it can be really tough at the end, but then I am used to that in my training and I enjoy it. Overall I think it’s a fantastic race to be involved in and I would highly recommend it.
BUPA Great North Run
I think this is the biggest participation half marathon in the world and I wish I was a bit more consistent in doing it year on year. It always seems to fall at the wrong time for me in terms of my training for other races. But the crowds are great again here. For me it can be a fast course. It depends on the wind direction but if it’s behind you, then you can go really quick. The toughest bit is at the end along the seafront, but the crowd always get right behind you and carry you home.
I think I first did this race back in 2002 and I really liked it. The course there is really flat and that makes it fast for wheelchair athletes. Because the track season is so hectic I only do one or two marathons and they tend to be at the start and the end of the season – normally London and New York. But I will definitely do Berlin again one day.
I would recommend any race in Switzerland because I do a lot of my racing there and I love it. They are fantastically organised for Paralympic sport and they also have the fastest tracks in the world. I probably go there two or three times a year to race along with a lot of my fellow competitors and it is definitely my favourite place to go. The competition is always good and the people are always friendly. I also enjoy going there for the scenery and countryside because it is so inspiring. It just takes your breath away when you are training alongside beautiful lakes and snow-covered mountains. I did a loop marathon there earlier this year and I wasn’t far off my PB, so it has happy memories for me too.
I really hope this helps if you are thinking about having a go at a 10k, half marathon or full distance race. Good luck.
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