The London Marathon has become the first major marathon event to offer equal prize money for able-bodied and wheelchair athletes at the 2024 race.

The wheelchair races in London were already the richest in the world, but an increase of $US54,500 ($83,000) to the overall prize pool creates parity with what is on offer for able-bodied runners.

Elite wheelchair race winners will earn $US55,000, with second place winning $US30,000 and third place $US22,500.

Two-time London Marathon winner Australian Madison de Rozario said the move was a game changer for disability athletes.

“We often say that sport is a mirror to society, but it can also be the starting point for much larger change and that’s what the London Marathon is doing here,” she said.

Madison de Rozario, Manuela Schar and Catherine Debrunner hold trophies

Madison de Rozario pipped three-time winner Manuela Schär in last year’s event.(Getty Images: PA Images/John Walton)

“This decision doesn’t just affect the athletes lining up in London in April, it has an overflow effect to not just how every other event values athletes with a disability, but how we view the 15 per cent of the global population living with disability.

“Sport has an enormous responsibility to community and the London Marathon is at the forefront of doing that justice.

“It is setting an entirely new standard and I can’t wait to see what that means for para sport going forward.

“Knowing that a generation of wheelchair racers are going to get to come into a sport and never question their value or their place is beautiful.”

The London Marathon, one of the six World Marathon Majors, has been hosted annually since 1981, with a wheelchair race part of the event since 1983.

An Australian female athlete crosses the line first in the women's wheelchair race at the London Marathon.

Madison de Rozario (left) is a three-time World Marathon Majors winner.(Getty Images: Alex Davidson)

Event director Hugh Brasher said the event was “proud” of how it has “championed participants with disabilities”.

“We are delighted to continue our commitment to disability sport with this landmark move that ensures the prize money available to our elite wheelchair athletes is exactly the same as for those in the able-bodied elite races,” he said.

“We have made great strides in recent years towards our ambition to make the London Marathon the most diverse and equitable marathon in the world and this is another important step towards achieving that goal.”

This year’s London Marathon will take place on Sunday, April 21 with three Australians named in the elite wheelchair field.

Previous winner and defending champion de Rozario — one of two Australians alongside Kurt Fearnley to win the London Marathon — is joined by three-time Paralympic medallist Christie Dawes in the women’s race, while Jake Lappin will race in the men’s event.

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