HOW do you stop a speeding bullet with your bare hands?
That is the question Kurt Fearnley will face in Sunday’s London Marathon as he attempts to end the dominance of a man known as the ‘silver bullet’ – Marcel Hug – in elite men’s wheelchair events.
Though Fearnley is a two-times winner of the London Marathon and his 2009 push of one hour, 28 minutes, 56 seconds stands as a course record, Hug is undoubtedly the man to beat at the moment.
Hug beat the Carcoar native home in last year’s London Marathon, that win coming six days after he took the honours in the Boston Marathon.
The 31-year-old has dominated over the 42.2 kilometres since then, his successes including out sprinting Fearnley to gold in the Paralympic Games marathon in Rio last September and defending his Boston crown in a scorching 1:18.04 push last Sunday.
He has only been defeated once in his last eight starts when beaten by Japan’s Sho Watanabe in February’s Tokyo Marathon.
“It’s been an incredible year for me which all started with wins in Boston and London last April,” Hug said.
“The London Marathon is the biggest race in the world and I’d love to win for a third time. It’s never easy though. Anything can happen in wheelchair racing and the field is stronger than ever.”
Fearnley is one of those who is keen to end Hug’s streak and pick up his first win in London since 2013.
"Last year Marcel cleaned up everywhere, so there'll be a few of us on the start line next week trying to make sure that doesn't happen this year," Fearnley said.
"I've had a couple of wins in London before and got close last year, so I know what it's about and will give it a good crack."
Hug is not the only man who stands between Fearnley and his bid to win his third London Marathon.
After narrowly missing out to Hug in Boston, South African Ernst van Dyk, will line up for his 12th London Marathon.
British legend David Weir has even more experience over the course, boasting six wins in 17th prior appearances, while he also won the 2012 London Paralympic Games gold medal ahead of Hug and Fearnley.
“This is the race I love; it’s been in my blood since I was eight-years-old when I first saw it on TV,” he said.
“It was the first race I ever wanted to win and to have won six is amazing. I’m not even thinking about a seventh, though. If it happens, it happens.”
Former winners Josh George (2015) and Josh Cassidy will line up on Sunday as will three-times London victor and marathon world record holder Heinz Frei.