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Daniel Romanchuk records fastest wheelchair marathon in history

Daniel Romanchuk

Daniel Romanchuk, a 22-year-old Tokyo Paralympic qualifier, has recorded the fastest marathon for a wheelchair racer in history, according to the New York Road Runners.

Romanchuk covered 26.2 miles in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 57 seconds in a straight line through Central Illinois on Thursday -- an average of 2 minutes, 49 seconds per mile.

Romanchuk was competing in the Virtual New York City Marathon in lieu of the in-person, five-borough race that was canceled this year and that Romanchuk won in 2018 and 2019.

The previous fastest time in history was 1:18:04, set by Swiss Marcel Hug at the 2017 Boston Marathon. Neither time counted as an official world record. Romanchuk’s wasn’t in an in-person race or on an official course. The Boston course is ineligible due to its point-to-point, net downhill layout.

The world record is 1:20:14, set by Swiss Heinz Frei in 1999.

“I had to use my imagination, as the harvested corn and soybean fields took over,” was posted on Romanchuk’s social media. “Normally my sister, who’s an ER nurse in NYC, is there to give me an ‘annoying’ big sister hug and kiss at the finish line. I never knew how much I’d miss that.”

Romanchuk’s rise has been one of the major stories in this Paralympic cycle. Four years ago, he was eliminated in the first round of all five of his races in Rio.

But now, he’s the world’s best marathoner -- with a 6-foot-10 wingspan -- a world-record holder on the track and winner of the Boston, London, Chicago and New York City Marathons in 2019.

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