CHICAGO (CBS) — Daniel Romanchuk, a 20-year-old from Urbana, won the men’s wheelchair race in the Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing with the fastest time ever by an American, and becoming the youngest man to ever win the race.
A student at Parkland College in Champaign, Romanchuk is a member of the University of Illinois Wheelchair Racing Team, and plans to transfer to the University of Illinois.
He crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 36 seconds; three minutes ahead of Masazumi Soejima, of Japan, who was in second at 1:24:30. Marcel Hug was third, coming in at 1:26:42.
Romanchuk was the first American winner of the Boston wheelchair marathon since 1993.
“I knew it was possible, it was just a matter of everything coming together,” Romanchuk said.
His victory breaks up the recent dominance of Hug and Ernst van Dyk, who between them have 14 Boston Marathon victories. Hug had won the previous four Boston races.
“I have grown up watching them on the world stage. It’s just incredible to even be able to push with them. It’s just amazing. They’re two just absolutely iconic racers,” Romanchuk said.
Romanchuck also won the Chicago, New York and xxx marathon wheelchair races last year.
“It’s been an amazing series,” he said. “Winning all three majors on American soil is just, it’s wonderful. There’s really no way to describe it.”
The University of Illinois has a history of producing top wheelchair marathon racers. Tatyana McFadden, one of the most dominant wheelchair marathoners ever, has won five of six times she’s competed in the Boston Marathon, including last year.