CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A student at Parkland College is reflecting on the moment he made history.
Daniel Romanchuk won the men’s wheelchair race at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
He’s back in Urbana, but he’s not resting any time soon.
He’s already preparing for his next trip across the finish line. This is the first time since 1993 that an American has won the men’s wheelchair racing title. Not only that, but Romanchuk also beat a two-time champion, and he’s the youngest to ever win that division.
Now, he’s enjoying some downtime. That is – until next week.
“It’s been a very long journey. A lot of ups and downs to get to this point,” said Romanchuk.
A journey, that will go down in history – the one hour, 21 minutes, and 36 seconds that Romanchuk will never forget.
“I think it’s on everyone’s list of races to win.”
Like most successful athletes, Daniel had his eyes on the prize for almost his entire life.
“I have been wheelchair racing since I was four years old. Started at the Bennett Blazers sports program in Baltimore Maryland.”
He started training at the University of Illinois about four years ago.
“This is widely-regarded as the best place in the country to train for wheelchair track.”
Romanchuk says – there were moments where he thought he might take second place, but he wasn’t going to let that happen without a fight.
“At the start of the race, I had fallen back a bit because of just the downhills. I don’t go down hill as well as the other racers.”
“I never say that a race is over before I cross the finish line, but I’d say… starting to come down Boylston Street. That is where I kindof started to process: This is actually happening.”
“I was thrilled to see him cross the finish line,” said Wheelchair Track and Road Racing Team head coach Adam Bleakney.
That determination is the reason he’s returned home with a victory, but his journey doesn’t end here.
Romanchuk closed on a house in Champaign Wednesday. He’ll be off to London in two weeks for another marathon there.
His advice to anyone else wanting to claim a title: Listen to your coach.
Romanchuk is no stranger to the Boston Marathon. He finished third in 2018.
He also won the Chicago and New York City marathons in 2018, and he won third in the London Marathon last year.