Schär bids to retain marathon world title in London‏

Switzerland's world marathon champion Manuela Schär cannot wait to take to the streets of London, Great Britain, on Sunday 26 April as she bids to retain the global title she won two years ago in Lyon, France.

This year the Virgin Money London Marathon plays host to the IPC Athletics World Marathon Championships and Schär - who clinched the 2013 world crown in only her second ever marathon - is relishing the opportunity to line up against many of her greatest rivals over the 26.2 mile course, determined to make recent preparations count.

With a solid base of winter training under her belt, including a winning return to Australia back in January where she successfully retained her Oz Day 10km title, the 30-year-old has already reaped the rewards, winning the New York half marathon last month.

"That was really good preparation," admitted Schär, who got the better of a world class field including Americans Tatyana McFadden, Susannah Scaroni, Chelsea McClammer and Amanda McGrory.

"It was a really good field and it was a pretty tough course too. I knew I was in good shape but you never know how the others do so it was still a bit of a surprise."

Last year also proved highly successful on the track and out on the roads, with four gold medals at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, and her second consecutive marathon win in Japan.

Indeed Schär is acutely aware of the need to keep going from where she left off in 2014 and has been careful not to make too many changes to her training regime.

In fact her determination to maintain what she sees as a successful routine recently led her to choose not to take part in the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha later this year.

Schär believes that in order to give herself the best chance of success in Rio in 17 months' time, she must try to maintain the same pattern of training and competition that she has undertaken since 2012, when she returned home from the London Paralympic Games without a medal.

"I always start with the marathons in London and Boston then I do track during the summer, then the marathons again - that has worked well for me now so that's why I decided to just focus on the London marathon then do New York and Chicago," she explained.

"London [2012 Games] was not really my best performance. I made a lot of changes after that, so it will be good to see how I go when I focus on one thing and try to have perfect preparation over four years."

Next week's World Championship event, which also acts as a qualifier for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, will see Schär go for gold against a formidable field of 14 racers, including the likes of McFadden, who has won back-to-back marathons in Boston, London, Chicago and New York in the last two years.

Schär is well aware of the task she faces if she is to get the better of the American, who is targeting her third consecutive London Marathon victory after breaking the course record in both 2013 and 2014.

In fact you could understand if Schär was to feel some sort of resentment towards McFadden, who beat her to the line in the 400m, 800m and 5000m (T54) at the 2013 Athletics World Championships in Lyon as well as the London, Chicago and New York marathons last year.

But the Swiss seems to thrive on the competition, and points out that "it's easier to work really hard when you have to beat someone. It's easier to be the one who chases than to be the one who is chased."

Schär plays her cards close to her chest however when it comes to rating her chances of beating McFadden on Sunday.

"It has to be the perfect race for me," she said. "It's never easy to race Tatyana because she is so strong and she's been winning everything for the past three years. We'll see what happens.

"I know I've been working very hard and doing different things - climbing, going downhill and all that stuff. But London is not really the course for me to beat Tatyana. It's pretty technical, but of course I will do my best. I know I've been working really hard and I'm healthy and in good shape so I hope to put on a good fight.

"It's about doing the best race I can on the day. I would lie if it's not about the medal but whether it's gold, silver or bronze it's hard to tell."

Of course McFadden aside, there's no forgetting Schär's other great rival - Japan's Wakako Tsuchida, the fastest woman on paper and winner in London in 2010. Tsuchida finished just one second behind Schär in London last year, and was pipped on the line by the Swiss for the world title in Lyon.

"We were really close in Lyon and then in Japan and New York, so it's always a really nice battle between us - it's fun, it makes it exciting," said Schär.

"I know it's going to be a really good field and so that makes me really excited to show what I can do and to see what the others are capable of on the day.

"It helps to look back at the New York City half marathon and Japan last year, but it's a new race [on Sunday] and it starts at the beginning and ends with the person who finishes first."

The 2015 IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships will take place on Sunday 26 April.