Berlin - Former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi will compete at the Berlin Marathon for the first time on Sunday, using a recumbent handbike instead of the regular handcycle.
Zanardi, 48, is a two-time Paralympics champion from 2012, six world titles in handbike events, and has competed in various marathons and triathlon events over the past years.
The Italian lost both legs in a crash at a 2001 Champ Car race in eastern Germany and doctors saved his life in a Berlin clinic at the time.
"Berlin is the place where my life was saved and where I was kind of born for the second time. That makes my participation in this event very special for many reasons," Zanardi said in a statement issued on Monday by his sponsors BMW.
Looking at his debut on the recumbent handbike, he said: "From a sporting point of view, it is a completely new adventure for me. I have never tried this type of handcycle before, and when I first jumped on it I had to acknowledge that this is a completely different sport."
The 42nd Berlin Marathon boasts some 70,000 participants led by 41,000 runners over the classic 42,195-kilometres distance.