David Weir delivered his fastest marathon in four years to finish fifth in a fascinating T54 race and round off the Paralympic athletics programme in Tokyo.

The London 2012 champion watched Swiss Marcel Hug and China’s Zhang Yong fly out in front from the 5km mark and then took to a four-way battle for bronze.

The 42km course was technical and challenging in damp conditions, with wheelchair racers cheered on by local fans who lined the streets of the Japanese capital.

Weir couldn’t match a late move from USA’s Daniel Romanchuk on the final incline but beat Aaron Pike in a sprint finish in the stadium to clock 1:29:45.

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I was quite impressed, I have not gone under 1:30 for a few years.

David Weir

“I want to win and I tried today, I really thought I was going to get a bronze,” said the 42-year-old.

“I push really good in the rain. I had no problems with the rain and I gave it my all today.

“I was quite impressed, I have not gone under 1:30 for a few years. I knew it would be quick, I had a look at the course two days ago and I thought the winning time would be 1:24, 1:25.

“It would be nice to have a beer and chill out now.”

A first Games to be proud of for JohnBoy Smith

It was Weir’s second completed Paralympic marathon of a glittering career that stretches back to Atlanta 1996. He also raced the 1500m and 5000m on the track in Tokyo, finishing tenth in the shorter distance.

He was joined in the race by JohnBoy Smith, who was first spotted for the sport by Weir’s long-time coach Jenny Archer in 2016.

Smith saw his right glove break on the initial exit from the stadium after 800m and was shunted by a fellow racer on one of the turns, sustaining a suspected broken rib.

But he completed the course in 1:32:25 and took pride in his performance.

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I can say once I was good enough to be among the best in the world.

JohnBoy Smith

“At the end of the day, whether this is my first or last Paralympics, at least I can say once I was good enough to be among the best in the world,” said Smith.

“I had to be in the top 20 to be here is an achievement in itself.

“It was a good race, I enjoyed it. I came out here very confident, it’s the leanest and the strongest I’ve been.

“Sometimes it doesn’t go right, but it was a fantastic course and not as hard as I expected.”

A scene to savour on the roads of Tokyo

Derek Rae exorcised the demons of his DNF at Rio 2016 by completing the course and finishing ninth in the marathon T45.

The Scot suffered a stress fracture in his lower back in June and his 2:47:04 run was a testament to his resilience.

“I’m proud of myself for getting to the start line,” said Rae.

“There was a doubt in my mind as to whether I’d compete but it was an honour to get here and represent ParalympicsGB.

“I ran pretty much the whole race on my own and I wouldn’t have got through it were it not for the crowds. They’ve given us such a warm welcome here.”

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Rio has motivated me since it happened, it never left my mind. It was a demon but the final nail is now in that coffin.

Derek Rae

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