David Weir feels refreshed ahead of 24th London Wheelchair Marathon

David Weir feels refreshed ahead of 24th London Wheelchair Marathon

David Weir feels refreshed and ready to go again as he prepares to tackle a 24th consecutive London Wheelchair Marathon – with no plans to retire just yet.

While Sir Mo Farah reiterated Sunday would mark his last London Marathon appearance, Weir, 43, already has his sights set on reaching a quarter-of-a-century of appearances in the showpiece event.

The British para-athlete, an eight-time winner in London, produced an impressive victory in the Paris Marathon at the start of April.

Having finished third in London in both 2021 and 2022, Weir remains determined to deliver another strong display back on home soil.

“I have struggled to get the mileage in the last couple of years because the (London) Marathon moved, so the focus was quite difficult last winter to get motivated and aim for something,” said Weir.

“It is nice that London’s back in April and I have had a lot of focus. The training has been great.

“I have been training well, with lots of miles in Portugal and changed my training slightly because of my age. I can’t do the intensity as much as I used to.

“I’ve changed my sort of strategy of training and it has been working well. I am happier how I feel coming into this marathon.

“I am a lot fresher coming into this race and it was just nice to get a marathon under my belt before coming to London.”

Weir added: “I had a tough end of the year. My dad passed away and he was one of my biggest fans, but in the new year I have been training really well and I feel really confident coming into this race.

“Everything’s gone to plan and it feels weird because I actually haven’t had to catch up or had any weeks off where I was ill.

“It has been a solid winter for me and I am looking forward to racing on Sunday.”

The ‘Weirwolf’ saw his hopes of a first Commonwealth Games marathon title in Birmingham last summer scuppered by a puncture, as he was caught by eventual winner Johnboy Smith.

The veteran multiple Paralympic champion is hoping for a better run of luck this weekend, where Switzerland’s Marcel Hug will be out to defend his title.

“It’s just been a dream every year and I love the race, love the organisation and the London crowd,” Weir said.

“I have probably got a couple of more in me – I have got to hit the 25 mark and I definitely will finish my career at a London marathon, that will be my final race, but I don’t know when I will make that decision.

“If the training was really bad, I think it would be an easy decision, but because I am training well, I am enjoying the racing as well.”

Weir added: “We are lucky that we can carry on our careers a little bit longer.

“I said after 2012 it would probably be my last year every year and I just wanted to see that the next British athletes start knocking on the podium.

“That hasn’t come through yet. Hopefully in the next few years they might start beating me and start winning some medals.”

Hug continues to impress in the major events, with the “Silver Bullet” breaking his own course record when winning the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug (centre) won the men’s elite wheelchair race in 2022
Switzerland’s Marcel Hug (centre) won the men’s elite wheelchair race in 2022 (John Walton/PA)

“He is just an amazing athlete at the moment and I think we are all battling for second and third,” Weir said. “To see that race on Monday was mind blowing, with the conditions and headwind.

“We have got a lot of catching up to do, not just me, but the rest of the field, even the younger athletes coming through.

“He is phenomenal to watch and you just feel privileged to even get on podium with him at the moment.”