Frei adds to record haul

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The Independent Online
Imagine an athlete with the speed of the 800 metres runner Sebastian Coe and the marathon strength of Abebe Bikila: meet Heinz Frei, writes Duncan Mackay.

The versatile 37-year-old from Switzerland underlined once again yesterday why he is the best wheelchair racer in the world with victory in the London Marathon.

Frei's time of 1hr 39min 14sec was a course record by nearly four minutes, but more than 17min outside the world record he set in Berlin last year.

Frei is the Said Aouita of his sport: he holds the world record not only for the marathon but also for 800m, 5,000m and 10,000m.

It was in the Isle of Dogs where he secured victory, increasing the wheel speed of his £2,000 chair after 14 miles, and quickly gaining a 30sec advantage in a manner of which Formula One's Damon Hill, the official race starter, would surely have approved.

David Holding, the 1989 and 1994 champion, found the slipstream behind George Shrattenecker, of Austria, to good effect before sprinting away in the Mall to take the runner-up's position. His time was 1hr 47min 36sec.

With the defending champion, Tanni Grey, favouring a stint in the BBC commentary position this year, Rose Hill had an easy ride to win the women's race in 2hr 17min 2sec, regaining the title she last won in 1993.

The mini wheelchair event for under-15s was dominated by Wallington's David Weir. Tushar Patel, of Fulham, London, won the Under-18 section.