BOSTON (CBS) — A pair of defending champions will be looking to add another olive wreath to their decorated Boston Marathon collection this year.
The B.A.A. announce on Wednesday that defending wheelchair division champions Ernst van Dyk and Tatyana McFadden will be back on the Boston course for the 119th Boston Marathon.READ MORE: Massachusetts To Consider Allowing Supervised Drug-Use Sites In Virtual Hearing At Statehouse
The 42-year-old Van Dyk won his tenth Boston Marathon title in 2014, breaking the tape in 1:20:36. He is the all-time winningest athlete in Boston Marathon history, with his 2014 winning time ranked as the second fastest of his ten wins in Boston.
But he’ll have plenty of competition. The B.A.A. also announced other top contenders on the men’s side on Wednesday, including two-time Boston Marathon winner Masazumi Soejima and 2013 champion Hiroyuki Yamamoto of Japan, along with course record holder Joshua Cassidy of Canada. Cassidy owns the fastest push rim wheelchair finish of all time thanks to his 1:18:25 performance in Boston in 2012.
Japan’s Kota Hokinoue, who finished second in 2014 behind van Dyk, is also returning for the 2015 race.
Competing for the first time this year will be Paralympic Games medalists Kurt Fearnley of Australia, David Weir of Great Britain and Marcel Hug of Switzerland.READ MORE: Gov. Baker Calls For Action Towards Ending Nurses' Strike At St. Vincent Hospital
On the women’s side, McFadden looks to make it three straight Boston titles after defeating last year’s field by more than two minutes. She also won the London, Chicago, and New York City Marathons in 2014 for the second year in a row.
Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida, a five-time Boston Marathon champion and course record holder (1:34:06), Susannah Scaroni, who finished third in 2014, and Shirley Reilly, winner of the Boston and London Paralympic Marathons in 2012,will all be looking to dethrone McFadden come April 20.
The men’s and women’s champions will each earn $20,000 in prize money, and new for 2015, the total prize purse for the push rim wheelchair division has increased by $24,500 to $84,500, distributed equally among men and women.
The 119th Boston Marathon also marks the 40th anniversary since Bob Hall became the first athlete to participate in a wheelchair. Since he did so four decades ago, the push rim wheelchair division has grown to see more than 1,470 finishers.MORE NEWS: First Afghan Refugees Arrive In Massachusetts
Stay tuned for more coverage of the 119th Boston Marathon on CBSBoston.com and WBZ-TV — the exclusive local broadcast home of the Boston Marathon!