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Race Report: CPL Wheelchair Marathon down to a sprint finish

The men’s CPL Wheelchair Marathon was taken out for the second time by 2022 winner, Jake Lappin (1:42:14) after a cracking sprint to the finish against last year’s champion, Japan’s Kota Hokinoue (1:42:26).

With plenty of wind out on course, it became one of the most tactical races ever on the Gold Coast course, with energy-saving slipstreaming the name of the game.

According to Lappin, it helped that he and Hokinoue had raced each other several times in the past.

Because we’ve lined up together a few times before, we knew what to expect and, with the breeze a factor, we worked together along the course.
He said the slipstream effect worked for both frontrunners.

It was windy, so we didn’t want to be out the front too long, and it was good to have someone to work with.

You’re always aware where everyone is during a race like this, so it’s important to hold your speed.

For Hokinoue’s part, the better sprinter on the day was always likely to win. “I’ve competed against Jake enough times to know how he races,” Hokinoue said.

“Jake is very good with sprinting and this time he did a good job of slipstreaming to conserve energy for the sprint at the end.

“Competing on wheels, we’re a bit different to runners who don’t get such opportunities to get behind each other and keep low to conserve energy.

“And that means staying very close along the whole course, which often results in close finishes like that one today.

“Last year was OK, because I was alone and could run my own race, but this year because we were neck and neck and Jake is the better sprinter, I just couldn’t match him at the end,” he said.

The Women’s CPL Wheelchair Marathon was won by someone who has made it her own over the past decade. Seven-time Paralympian Christie Dawes has now won the event three times (2000, 2016 and 2024) and placed second in 2019, 2022 and last year.

And the expert television commentator-to-be at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games says she’ll be back.

“Apart from quite a strong headwind, the weather is beautiful, the course is great, it’s nice and flat and on home soil this is as good as it gets,” she said.

Dawes (1:54:36) said she appreciated a bit of help with her pace along the way.

“You see the start list and you know that you’re going to be on your own, but I was able to push with Bill Chaffey.

“We are separate classifications so we can’t draft and work together in a slipstream but even sitting beside each other and knowing you’ve got someone and you’re not lonely helps incredibly.

“I’ve had a disrupted preparation and lacked consistency through just life, and I just wanted to come out and have a good hit out and know that I could still comfortably get under 1:55 so that was nice,” she said.

Posted in News.