Wheelchair Marathon

©1993 NAOC TM NAOC 7-056

What is wheelchair marathon?

Wheelchair marathon race

Wheelchair marathon is the race that the person without the function of their both legs runs 42.195 km by wheelchair.
The wheelchair runner surmounts the obstacle and goes through the hard training. It is one of the most severe races.

When did it start?

When did it begin?

British doctor, Lord Ludwig Goodman introduced sports as one of the rehabilitation of the patients who have lost the function of both legs by accidents or war.
He held “International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games” in 1949.

The precise date of the first wheelchair marathon race is not known, but the one of the oldest records says that Bob Hall ran the whole distance Boston Marathon by wheelchair in two hours 58 minutes in 1975.

However, it is Japan that held the wheelchair marathon race supported by Stoke Mandeville International Sports Federation for the first time in the world.
The Ohita International Wheelchair Marathon organized by Dr. Yu Nakamura (Medical doctor) was the first race in Japan.
The race became the 16th times this year, and nearly 500 people from 13 countries in the world participated in the race.

What kind of wheelchair is used for the race?

What kind of wheelchair is used for the race?

This photograph is a wheelchair for marathon race.

Racing wheelchair is like a sportscar. The most advanced technology and the materials of the best quolity are used to run fast. Sometimes a wheelchair of this type costs more than one million yen (ten thousand dollars).

How fast does it run?

Faster than the normal marathon

This figure is the average record of the top 20 runners in the wheelchair marathon.
The best record is one hour 22 minutes of Heinz Frei, Switzerland. In other words wheelchair marathon is much faster than the normal marathon.

How to run?

Efficient arm movement

This is the arm movement of the world champion, Heinz Frei, Switzerland. Markers are put on the major joints of the body and the video was analized using a computer.

Heinz Frei pushes the wheel by hands and returns them to begin the next motion cycle. Compared with the other runner on the right his arm movement is small and quick.
This efficient movement is the characteristics of Heinz Frei.

Excellent Athletes

Great runners

Most of the runners lost the function of both legs in accidents.
But they are all the iron men that overcome the handycap and trained the other body function to the limit.

The wheelchair marathon is one of the most severe wheelchair sports. It is splendid sports that thoroughly employ mental strength and the physical strength.