Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner, both from Switzerland, won the men’s and women’s wheelchair races in the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Hug won a record sixth victory on New York’s course, while Debrunner set a course record in her debut in the race.
Hug, whose nickname is the Silver Bullet, won his third consecutive race in New York in 1 hour 25 minutes 29 seconds, three seconds short of the course record he set last year. He also surpassed Kurt Fearnley’s record of five wins in the race.
“It’s incredible,” Hug said on ESPN. “At the moment, I’m just so, so tired. It was really tough. But I’m happy as well.”
Debrunner ended a dominating 2023 by finishing in 1 hour 39 minutes 32 seconds, smashing the New York course record by more than three minutes.
Earlier this year, she won the Berlin and Chicago marathons, which are both on flat courses, compared to New York’s hilly course. She set course records in both races and a world record in Berlin.
She also won the title for most points in the major marathon series, which includes six races globally.
“I knew it was the toughest marathon and it was my first time,” Debrunner said on ESPN after the race. “I came away much earlier than expected and I did the whole race by myself. It means the world to me. I won the whole marathon series and that’s so insane. It’s been a fairy-tale season.”
Like last year, Hug was neck-and-neck with Daniel Romanchuk of the United States for the first few miles of the race. But as they sped through Brooklyn, Hug pulled away and was several minutes in front by the halfway point. His commanding lead held over the rest of the course.
While Romanchuk finished second in 1 hour 30 minutes 7 seconds on Sunday, he qualified for the U.S. team in next summer’s Paralympic Games in Paris. For the first time, the New York City Marathon doubled as the qualifying race for the top two American finishers. Aaron Pike, the second American finisher, also made the team.
Debrunner led almost from the start of the race on Staten Island. She had a commanding one-minute lead within the first 10 miles of the race. By the midway point, her lead had ballooned to more than three minutes over Susannah Scaroni of the United States, who won the race in record time last year.
Manuela Schar of Switzerland finished second. Scaroni finished third, but she qualified for the U.S. team for the Paralympic Games, as did Tatyana McFadden, a five-time winner of the race, who finished sixth.
Hug won $35,000 for finishing first in his division. Debrunner won $35,000 for winning her division and another $50,000 for breaking the course record.