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Californians crush Canadians’ wheelcair-pushing marathon world record

The U.S. duo sliced exactly 14 minutes off the record set in Quebec last October

california record holders for wheelchair marathon

A California duo recently took the crown from a Canadian team who, last fall, set the world record for the fastest marathon by a male while pushing a wheelchair.

Sean McQuaid, 33, of San Diego, finished Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn. on June 17, in 2:34:36 while pushing teammate Riley Pathman of Del Mar, Calif. That time, which has yet to be ratified by Guinness World Records, beats the record set by Quebec runner Julien Pinsonneault and teammate Me Hour Lim in Granby, Que., last October by exactly 14 minutes.

McQuaid, who has finished a dozen marathons since October 2020, told BBC News this week how he was introduced to his teammate, who was born with cerebral palsy, which affects his movement and co-ordination. “In 2017 I was running a race and heard music and I saw this fella pushing this wheelchair while running and so I joined [Jim Pathman, Riley’s father] and Riley for the rest of the race,” McQuaid told BBC News. “I thought this was sensational, to not just run for yourself but with others and for others.”

McQuaid said he and his teammate went “through many emotions” on their record-breaking run. “Seeing the joy on Riley’s face as we ran said it all. It’s a partnership, you’re both in it together and just to cross that line—it was the best feeling because we knew we did it.”

Rick and Dick Hoyt
Dick and Rick Hoyt/Photo: Courtesy of the Boston Athletic Association

McQuaid said he and Pathman plan on continuing to compete as part of Team Hoyt San Diego, a non-profit group that helps athletes with disabilities and their families participate in running and other sports. The organization is named after the father-son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick, who died in May at 61, was pushed to the finish of the Boston Marathon by his father, who died in 2021, for 32 years between 1980 and 2014.

Although Pinsonneault is poised to lose a title with the ratification of the Californians’ blistering marathon time, the Canadian runner remains well represented in the Guiness World Records.

Spanish marathoner pushes manual wheelchair to world record at Valencia Marathon

Pinsonneault and Frédéric Demers hold the record for the fastest half-marathon pushing a wheelchair (1:16.49), which was run in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., on Nov. 6, 2021.

Individually, Pinsonneault has the world record for the fastest mile in snowshoes on sand (5:31), run in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., on Aug. 10, 2021, as well as the fastest kilometre in snowshoes on sand  (3:16.14), which he ran four days later in the same community.

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