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Manuela Schär sweeps Abbott World Major Marathons

Starting with Berlin in 2018, the wheelchair racer has won all six of the Abbott World Majors

With her emotional win at this morning’s Virgin Money London Marathon, wheelchair athlete Manuela Schär of Switzerland has swept all six of the Abbott World Major Marathons. This year’s Series XII started in at the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon and ends at this year’s Berlin Marathon.

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The AbbottWMM, as it is known, started in 2006 and comprises all six of the Abbott World Majors, including also the TCS New York City Marathon, the Tokyo Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the London Marathon, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and if applicable, the Paralympic marathon or para world championships. A points system for wheelchair athletes was added in 2016, with a $100,000 prize purse for first-place finishers.

“It’s kind of amazing… you know, I need some time to really think about it and to actually take it in, because I try to not think about it too much before the race because, you know, there was a lot of pressure… so I try to just do what I do all the time, and prepare for a really important marathon,” Schär told the Belfast Telegraph after the race. “I have the world title and also the six in a row. It’s kind of a big deal, so I’m really happy.”

Racers accumulate points based on their finishing positions in qualifying races every year, with prize money being awarded to the top three male and female finishers. In the wheelchair series, prizes are awarded based on each athlete’s score from their top four qualifying races (or five in a Paralympic or world championship year).

A first-place finish receives 25 points, second place 16 points, third place nine points, fourth place four points, and fifth place one point. If a series ends in a tie, the tie is broken by the athlete with the best head-to-head record in qualifying races, regardless of whether points were scored in those races or how many places ahead they finished. (If there is still a tie, the series will be won by the person with the most wins in qualifying races, and if a tie still remains, the winner is decided by a majority vote of the race directors of the WMM’s, or they may decide to declare two winners.)

Schär set the course record at London in 2017. American racer Tatyana McFadden, who finished second today, is in second place. The US’s Susannah Scaroni is in third. Technically, the series doesn’t end until this year’s Berlin Marathon.

Schär has used a wheelchair since she was eight, when an accident on the playground caused her to become paralyzed from the waist down.