London Marathon to be world's first to award equal prize money to wheelchair and able-bodied athletes

Wheelchair and able-bodied athletes will be paid the same amount of prize money at the London Marathon this year in a world-first.

Races for wheelchair athletes at the event were already the richest in the world, organisers say, but had been £43,000 short of the amount won by able-bodied counterparts.

Parity in the London Marathon makes it the first major UK sporting event known to give equal prize money to disabled participants and the first event of its kind in the world.

The new increase means a £244,000 prize pot will be shared between the wheelchair races, while the same total will be split among winners of the able-bodied events.

This breaks down as around £43,400 for first place, £23,700 for the runner-up and £17,800 for the third-place finisher - with the remainder distributed between the rest of the top 10.

British wheelchair racing legend David Weir, who is the most decorated athlete in the event's history with eight wins, described it as an "exciting year" for him and his peers.

"This is a huge benchmark for disability sport and I hope other races and sporting bodies can take note," he added.

Facing Weir at this year's race will be the number one wheelchair racer in the world, Marcel Hug, who is looking for his fourth straight win in London.

He shared Weir's excitement, adding: "The London Marathon is leading by example with equal prize money and showing they are not just talking about equality but also demonstrating it."

For the women's wheelchair race, the four previous winners will be competing against each other this year, including Madison de Rozario.

"This decision doesn't just affect the athletes lining up in London in April," she said.

"It has an overflow effect to not just how every other event values athletes with a disability, but how we view the 15% of the global population living with disability."

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Activity Alliance welcomed the move as a "huge positive step" in "making sports and physical activity fairer".

The charity's chief executive, Adam Blaze, said they are "extremely proud" to have seen wheelchair events "develop into the superb competition it is today".