Boston Marathon wheelchair race sets world record by Joshua Cassidy

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Boston Marathon wheelchair race sets world record by Joshua Cassidy

Ottawa-born Joshua Cassidy was the surprise winner Monday of the men’s wheelchair race at the Boston Marathon.

Cassidy, 27, added to the emotional victory by setting a world and course record time of time one hour, 18 minutes 25 seconds for the 42.195-kilometre distance.

South African Ernst Van Dyk set the record of 1:18:27 in 2004 on the Boston course.

Australia’s Kurt H. Fearnley was a distant second in 1:21:39, and Kota Hokinoue of Japan was third in 1:23:26.

A freelance illustrator, Cassidy led from the five-kilometre mark. When the former Ottawa Marathon champion reached the top of the course’s Heartbreak Hill (32 kilometres), he started to focus on breaking the records.

“Once I got to the top of Heartbreak, I knew I could win the race,” said Cassidy, who got his start in Paralympic wheelchair racing with Bob Schrader and Amanda Fader at the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club.

“So off I went, battling on my own the rest of the way to see if I could get the record.”

Cassidy, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma (cancer in the spine and abdomen) weeks after his birth and is a double leg amputee athlete, earned $15,000 for winning the men’s wheelchair race and a bonus of $10,000 for a world-best time.

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