This 20-Year-Old Paralympian Is the Youngest Boston Push Rim Winner Ever

Your 2019 Boston Marathon Men's Push Rim Wheelchair champion, Daniel Romanchuk!🏆

— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 15, 2019

In a sport that's dominated by veterans, 20-year-old Daniel Romanchuk made history when he won the Boston Marathon men's push rim race on Monday. Not only did Romanchuk become the race's youngest winner ever, but he also set a new American record with a time of 1:21:36. And to top it all off, he's also the first American champion in 26 years.

"There's an extremely strong field this year," said Romanchuk, who also competed in the 2016 Paralympics. "I've grown up looking up to these guys so to be able to push with them is amazing." Push rim racers compete in specialized wheelchairs that have an extra wheel in the front for stability. Athletes propel themselves with their arms, putting them at risk for shoulder injuries but avoiding the pounding wear and tear that breaks down the legs of marathoner runners. That makes it a sport that invites more longevity; Ernst van Dyk of South Africa, for example, has won Boston 10 times and took fifth this year at age 46.

The presence of such experienced champs — all 18 of Boston's past winners were competing this year — makes it even more remarkable that Romanchuk, at just 20 years old, took home the top spot. "It was surreal," Romanchuk said of his finish. "Boston is such an iconic race . . . To win this is just an incredible thing to happen."