WASHINGTON, April 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian-born Tatyana McFadden won the women’s wheelchair race at the storied Boston Marathon Monday for the second year in a row, firmly establishing herself as one of the best wheelchair distance racers in the world.
“McFadden’s victory marks the first time since 2005 that an American has claimed the olive wreath in back-to-back years,” the organizers of the marathon, now in its 117th year, tweeted.
McFadden, 23, from Clarksville, Maryland, finished the grueling course from the outskirts of Boston into the heart of the historic US city, in 1:45:25, 22 seconds off her personal best. She won $15,000 for finishing first.
McFadden said at first she struggled in the race, “It took me almost half the marathon to catch the lead pack,” she told WBZ in Boston.
McFadden spent the early years of her life in a Russian orphanage after being born in St. Petersburg with an underdeveloped spinal cord and spina bifida, which causes paralysis of the lower body.
She was adopted and brought to the United States at the age of six, and after suffering from anemia and being grossly underweight; she was enrolled in sports programs by her adoptive mother, Debbie McFadden.
She made her international competitive debut at the age of 15 as the youngest member of the US track and field team at the Athens Paralympic Games, where she won a silver medal in the 100 meters and bronze in the 200 meters races.
Four years later at the Beijing Paralympic Games, McFadden won three silver medals, in the 200, 400 and 800 meter races, and bronze in the 4 x 100 meter relay.
In 2009, McFadden won the Chicago marathon women’s wheelchair race. She won the Windy City’s marathon twice more, in 2011 and 2012, and the New York City marathon, in 2010. She now adds two consecutive Boston Marathons to her list of accomplishments.