London 2012 Paralympic hero David Weir will have his sights on a record equalling sixth men’s wheelchair victory when he returns to Tyneside for the Morrisons Great North Run on Sunday 13 September.
The South Londoner raced his way into the nation’s affections when he claimed four gold medals at his home town Olympics three years ago, winning the T54 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon and earning the nickname, ‘the Weirwolf of London.’
The 36-year-old, who also won the 800m and 1500m titles in Beijing in 2008, will be looking to build on his haul of six Paralympic golds at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro but, before turning his sights to next year, he aims to notch Great North win number six on the road from Newcastle to South Shields.
Fellow Briton David Holding achieved six wheelchair successes in the Great North Run between 1988 and 1996 and Weir’s tally currently stands at five, having emerged victorious in 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
Weir – who holds the course record of 41 minutes 31 seconds, set in 2009 – will face international opposition in the shape of Australian Richard Colman, winner of the T53 800m at the 2004 and 2012 Paralympics, and Canadian Josh Cassidy, the 2010 London Marathon champion.
American Amanda McGrory, who holds the women’s course record, will be in the women’s wheelchair field on 13 September. A two time London and New York City Marathon winner, and the T54 5000m Paralympic gold medallist in Beijing in 2004, her only Great North victory came in 2009, when she prevailed in a record 49 minutes 47 seconds.
Also lining up will be 19-year-old Teessider Jade Jones, the T54 Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist who is coached by Ian Thompson and mentored by his wife, the great Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, winner of a record eight Great North Run women’s wheelchair titles