BOSTON, MA. (WJZ) — The Boston Marathon may have started out as a foot race, but it didn’t stay that way.
Competitors in push-rim wheelchairs cover the same grueling mileage, powered by arms and hands. 20-year-old Daniel Romanchuck pushed into the lead and crossed the finish line a winner.
He grew up in Mount Airy, Md., and entered a special sports program at Kennedy Krieger High School in Baltimore 18 years ago.
“He started at a very early age. He started competing in track when he was probably about four, and it grew from there,” said Gerry Herman, his coach.
Last year, Daniel won the Chicago and New York City Marathons, and came in third in Boston.
But not this year. After crossing the finish line, Daniel said “Winning all three marathons on American soil is just wonderful. There’s really no way to describe it,”
“He’s a tremendous athlete and he has an attitude to be the best he can be in anything,” Herman said.
Romanchuk became the youngest push rim race winner in Boston Marathon history and the first US men’s wheelchair champion since 1993.
His time of one hour, 21 minutes and 36 seconds beat two European favorites.
“I have grown up watching them on the world stage. It’s just incredible to even push with them. It’s amazing,” Daniel said.
Daniel goes to college in Illinois, and asked permission to skip classes to race. Who could say no to a chance for a moment like this win?