Michelle’s marathon life

It was 4am on Monday in Boston, the morning of the marathon, and the start of Michelle Weltman’s working day, at her busiest time of year.


But she wasn’t complaining. “I’ve always worked very, very hard,” said Michelle, disability lead at London Marathon Events and the elite wheelchair race co-ordinator for the six marathon majors.

“I really love my job. Every day is different and I get to travel and to meet incredible people, not only the athletes but everyone I work with.”

Weltman flew straight back from the States on Tuesday to complete her preparations for the London race. “I’m responsible for logistics and for ensuring that the athletes are looked after and have training opportunities,” she explained.

“The day after the race, I get them to their press conferences and then to the airport. Although I work with the operations and transport teams, I don’t have any staff myself other than the volunteers who come in during the week beforehand. This year, the event will incorporate the World para-athletics marathon championships, which means 110 elite para athletes in all.”

Michelle’s route to the London role was, it’s fair to say, non-standard. Born in Zimbabwe, she made aliyah at the age of 12 with her family. After completing school in Netanya and then army service, she intended to take a gap year, but a torn ligament sustained while playing hockey for Israel at the Maccabiah temporarily affected her mobility and led her to curtail her travels.

“As I had a British passport through my father, I decided to go to England to study sports and work with disabled people. But shortly after the course started, I saw an ad for a sports development officer in Hackney and got the job.”

Michelle later coached swimmers for the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Paralympics, and also worked for Maccabi GB as director of sports development. 

“Soon after, I was asked to take on the elite work at the London marathon; they already knew me from my years as a volunteer with the London mini-marathon. I was in the right place at the right time.”

This year’s Boston winners, Daniel Romanchuk of the US, and Swiss athlete Manuela Schär, will be on the start line in London a week on Sunday, alongside eight-time winner David Weir, who will be making his 20th consecutive appearance at the event. It will be Michelle’s 13th as co-ordinator.

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