Ernst Van Dyk and Wakako Tsuchida Return to Lead Wheelchair Fields

Today Is: June 25th 2018
13 APR 2011
Defending Champions face talented fields in Hopkinton on April 18

Boston, MA – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) today announced that nine-time Boston Marathon Champion Ernst Van Dyk, of South Africa, will return to the 115th Boston Marathon, seeking an unprecedented tenth title. Victory on Patriots’ Day (Monday, April 18) would extend his record of most all-time Boston Marathon victories in any division. Wakako Tsuchida, of Japan, winner of four consecutive titles in the women’s wheelchair field, returns to compete for her fifth title.
Van Dyk has won in Boston in nine of the past ten years, including six consecutive victories from 2000-2006. His 2004 time of 1:18:27 is the world record. Challenging Van Dyk in the men’s field is last year’s runner-up Krige Schabort, of the USA [and formerly from South Africa], and 2007 champion Masazumi Soejima, of Japan. The field of more than 25 male competitors will vie for the olive wreath and a total prize purse of $60,000. In the women’s race, Tsuchida will be joined by last year’s fourth place finisher, Shirley Reilly of Arizona, and newcomers Emily McQueen and Anjali Forber-Pratt.

“Ernst Van Dyk has been synonymous with excellence at the Boston Marathon for a decade now, and he is unquestionably one of the race’s all-time greatest competitors,” said Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the B.A.A. “We welcome Ernst, Wakako and the entire wheelchair division, which has been an integral part of the event since Bob Hall’s pioneering effort in 1975.”

Another of the B.A.A.’s all-time greats is Jean Driscoll, an Indiana native who won the women’s wheelchair division eight times between 1990 and 2000.  Driscoll will be a special guest of the B.A.A. this weekend, and the B.A.A. will recognize her accomplishments and contributions to the division.

Driscoll, Van Dyk and Tsuchida will be recognized at the B.A.A.’s Champions’ Breakfast on Saturday morning, and Tsuchida will be recognized along with Soejima at a special tribute to the Japanese champions of the Boston Marathon on Friday afternoon at a press conference in the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel.

Ernst Van Dyk #W1
Country of Citizenship: Republic of South Africa
Age: 38
Date of Birth: April 4, 1973
Personal Record: 1:18:27 (B.A.A. Boston Marathon, 2004, WR)

Ernst Van Dyk has won the men’s wheelchair division at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon a record nine times and is the race’s all-time division leader. He set the current world record of 1:18:27 at Boston in 2004. Attributing the fast time to a combination of his top fitness in the Paralympic year and perfect condition, his world record marked the first time a wheelchair athlete cracked 1:20 for the marathon. Van Dyk has also won the New York City Marathon, Los Angeles Marathon, Paris Marathon, Columbus Marathon, Pittsburgh Marathon, Seoul International Wheelchair Marathon, Oita Marathon, Oensingen Marathon and Schenkon Marathon, as well as countless shorter races.

Wakako Tsuchida  #W101
Country of Citizenship: Japan
Age: 37
Date of Birth: October 15, 1974
Personal Record: 1:38:32 (Oita, 2001)

Wakako Tsuchida, Japan’s first women’s professional wheelchair athlete, captured her fourth straight B.A.A. Boston Marathon title in the women’s wheelchair division last year. This will be her seventh Boston Marathon. In each of the last four years she has won by at least three minutes. She set her best Boston Marathon time (1:43:32) in 2010. Tsuchida achieved her best marathon time (1:38:32) at Oita in 2001. She has won the Oita Marathon four times (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003) and the Honolulu Marathon twice (2003, 2005). She won a bronze medal in the marathon at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney and gold (5000 meters) and silver medals (marathon) at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens.


Masazumi Soejima  #W2
Country of Citizenship: Japan
Age: 40
Date of Birth: August 31, 1970
Personal record time: 1:21:23 (Padova, 2008)

Masazumi Soejima won the men’s wheelchair race at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon in 2007, becoming the only man other than nine-time champion Ernst Van Dyk to win that division since 2001. His winning time of 1:29:16 is his fastest on the course. He finished third in 2008 in 1:33:00, second in 2009 in 1:36:57, and fourth in 2010 in 1:28:06.
Soejima has won the Honolulu Marathon every year since 2005, and holds the course record of 1:29:22 set in 2006. He also won the Tokyo Marathon in 2007. He completed his fastest marathon of 1:21: 23 while winning the Padova Marathon in 2008. Also in 2008, he finished second at the Berlin and Chicago Marathons and third in Japan’s Oita Marathon, as well as competing in the 1500m and marathon at Paralympic Games in Beijing. He holds one medal from the Paralympic Games, a bronze from the 4x100m relay in 2004.
Soejima lives in Fukuoka, Japan. His 2007 victory at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon made him the first Japanese winner in the wheelchair division.


B.A.A. Moment

Ernst Van Dyk and Wakako Tsuchida Return to Lead Wheelchair Fields

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