Zanardi 4th in N.Y.C. marathon

Alex Zanardi

Alex Zanardi

11/5/2007 8:43:11 AM

Alex Zanardi finished fourth in the handcycle division of the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

The 41 year old who lost both his legs in a motorsports crash in 2001 completed his first marathon of this kind in 1:33.17. That was more than 15 minutes behind the winner, Alejandro Albor of California but well within the time he had set for himself prior to taking part in the race.

"I was so nervous that I don't think I slept more than three hours last night," he tells the New York times. I've been in better shape, but I'm not demolished."

Zanardi's result is impressive considering he had never used a handcycle before and had less than a month to prepare for the 26.2-mile challenge. But Zanardi said earlier this year he was not doing it to prove something to anyone but himself.

"If along the way, by things I do, people at home say, 'Look at this guy with no legs enjoying this, smiling, completing 42 kilometers with a funny bicycle; at least I could go down to the grocery store and buy a couple apples,'" Zanardi said. "I'm proud to be an inspiration, but I'd be completely wrong to do it to send a message."


Impossible challenges are nothing new for the 41-year-old Italian, who lost his the use of his legs following a crash in Champ Car race in 2001 with Canadian Alex Tagliani. The impact of the crash and the injuries he sustained left him in a coma for a week. Two years later, Zanardi returned to Germany to complete the final 12 laps of the race he never finished.

Earlier this year, he drove a modified Formula One car courtesy of BMW. He now competes in the World Touring Car Championship.

Formula One rookie Heikki Kovalainen also took part in the marathon. He finished the 42km course in a time of 3:36.56 seconds, almost an hour and a half behind the winner.

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