WASHINGTON, November 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russian-born Tatyana McFadden has become the first athlete to capture four major marathons in a single year, winning the women’s wheelchair division of the New York City Marathon.
“I was pretty nervous, I knew that the girls were going to be really strong,” McFadden, who was adopted by her US mother from a Russian orphanage, told the New York Daily News.
McFadden, 24, finished Sunday’s 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) race in 1:59:13, nearly four minutes ahead of runner-up Wakako Tsuchida of Japan.
The victory caps what McFadden described as an “incredible year” in which she achieved her goal of winning four major marathons in 12 months, according to the Baltimore Sun.
McFadden’s winning streak began at the Boston Marathon in April, followed up by a win at the London Marathon a week later. She emerged victorious in the Chicago Marathon in October, making her the first person ever to win three consecutive major marathons.
McFadden was born in St. Petersburg – then Leningrad – with an underdeveloped spinal cord and spina bifida, which causes paralysis of the lower body, and spent the early years of her life in a Russian orphanage.
Adopted and brought to the United States when she was 6 years old, she was enrolled in sports programs by her adoptive mother, Debbie McFadden of Clarksville, Maryland.
McFadden made her international competitive debut at the age of 15 at the Athens Paralympic Games, where she won a silver medal in the 100 meters and bronze in the 200 meters races.
She proceeded to win three silver medals and a bronze at the Beijing Paralympic Games before going on to capture gold medals in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meter races at the London Paralympic Games last year.
Next McFadden hopes to make the US cross-country skiing team for the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi. Although she only took up skiing last winter, she won a US championship after a single month’s training, the Baltimore Sun reported Sunday.