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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Holding to make Marathon return
By Nick Sessions

David Holding in action in Athens during the 2004 Paralympics
Watch full video & audio coverage of the London Marathon on the BBC SPORT website from 0845 BST on Sunday 17 April

Veteran wheelchair athlete David Holding is set to make a return to the London Marathon this year.

Holding, 36, called time on an illustrious competitive career after the 2004 Paralympics in Athens.

But the four-time London Marathon winner couldn't resist another circuit of the capital's streets.

But this time Holding admits he is unlikely to be adding to his impressive collection of winner's medals.

"The first year I was in the London Marathon, I won it and ever since then I've always been trying to win it," he said.

"This is the first year I know that I'm not going to be in the top 10. In a way, the pressure is off me, so it will be fun taking part."

Holding attributes his past success in the London race, organised by Disability Sport England, to its position early in the calendar year.

The April race meant he was often able to reap the benefits of an intensive winter training programme.

"Coming out of my winter season, the stamina training meant I was able to do a good marathon.

"Then I could also do very specialised training for the 100m and 200m later in the year."

It's a strategy that paid dividends throughout his career and enabled him to dominate across a range of distances.

Born: 5/6/68
Lives: Kettering
London Marathon winner: 1989, 1994, 1996 & 1997
Gold: 100m Atlanta '96; World Championships, Birmingham '98; 1500m Helsinki '94
Awarded MBE in 1998

As well as marathon success, Holding's career medal haul also includes sprint golds in the 100m at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta and the 1998 World Championships in Birmingham.

This year, Holding says he is looking to complete the 26-mile course in a little over two hours - and admits he is unlikely to get anywhere near his best winning time of one hour 41 minutes.

But Holding has still been training hard and says spectators may well catch a glimpse of his old competitive instincts if he finds himself within range of any former rivals.

"London is the one marathon that everybody knows about. If I see a target in front of me, it might egg me on.

"I think I may still have that competitive feeling."

Whether or not he manages to keep pace with this year's leaders, Holding will also be helping raise money for the Disabled Drivers' Motor Club and the kidney and stroke ward at the hospital in his home town of Kettering.

And for Holding it will be a welcome return to a race that has played a big part in his career.

"I know most of the wheelchair athletes taking part, so it's a bit of a get-together anyway and it's just great to stay involved."

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