Josh Cassidy sets a world record at the Boston Marathon

With his winning time of one hour, 18 minutes and 25 seconds, Toronto’s Josh Cassidy not only won Monday’s Boston Marathon in record time but is now also the fastest person ever to complete a marathon anywhere in the world.

Now, let’s give this some perspective.

Cassidy, 27, accomplished this incredible feat in a wheelchair under the intense Boston heat.

The runner who won the 116th edition of the world-famous event, Wesley Korir of Kenya, completed the 42 kilometres in two hours, 12 minutes and 40 seconds, almost 10 minutes slower than last year’s winner.

“I guess that means I beat him by almost an hour,” Cassidy said in an interview with the Star. “To be honest, being the fastest person to ever complete a marathon hasn’t set in yet. But I visualized winning the Boston Marathon, trying to go as fast as I could.

“Seven guys could have won this prestigious event. I wasn’t even on the map when I competed before in 2006 or 2009. The world record part will settle in shortly.”

How does he top this?

On Tuesday, he’ll fly to London where he’ll compete in the London Marathon, a race he won in 2010. Besides trying to win two marathons in six days, Cassidy is trying to raise money to help a 5-year-old girl battling cancer.

“That’s my motivation right now,” said Cassidy, who will compete in several events, including the 800 and 1,500 metres, as well as the marathon at the Paralympics in London this summer.

Born in Ottawa, Cassidy was diagnosed with cancer of the spine and abdomen weeks after birth.

Monday’s heat didn’t bother Cassidy.

“I’m in a three-wheel, high-tech racing chair but there’s no motor and no gears. It’s all pushing with my arms,” he said. “I’m crawling up the hills slower than the elite runners but I’m hitting about 70 km/h on the downhills. If you hit a pothole, it’s pretty much game over.”

Cassidy had the lead when he reached the top of the course’s famed Heartbreak Hill. His winning time was two seconds faster than the 2004 record of South African Ernst Van Dyk. He also beat second-place finisher Kurt Fearnley of Australia by more than three minutes.

“People don’t know how hard we train,” he said. “That’s what’s frustrating. We have elite guys from around the world in a sport that is arguably more competitive than some of the Olympic sports but it doesn’t get the same coverage.”

In the women’s wheelchair race, Canadian Diane Roy finished third, five minutes behind winner American Shirley Reilly, who completed the event in 1:37.36.