How do you top winning a major marathon? Win four of them

The World
Tatyana McFadden at the London Paralympics

Tatyana McFadden at the London Paralympics in 2012.

Meredith Nierman/WGBH

Tatyana McFadden says she's only starting to realize the magnitude of her recent marathon accomplishment. A grand slam. Winning Chicago, Boston, London and New York. In a single year.

"I think its going to settle in later this week. I've put so much hard work into this. I am so incredibly happy with the win because I just wanted to close out the season with a win. It's been a phenomenal experience," she said.

McFadden's New York victory came Sunday in just 1:59:13 — a near record.

McFadden was born in Russia in 1989 with spina bifida. She was adopted at age 6 and grew up in Maryland. After winning the New York City Marathon women's wheelchair race in 2010, McFadden flew to the St. Petersburg orphanage where she spent her early childhood. She gave her Marathon gold medal to the orphanage's director.

"That experience for me was fulfilling," McFadden said. "It's about going back and showing your appreciation."

McFadden won three gold medals for the US in track and field at the London Paralympics, and now has a wheelchair marathon Grand Slam as well. But, she's not satisfied and she's already got an eye on her next challenge. She hopes to qualify in cross-country ski racing for the next Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, in March.

"It's where my roots are. I'm never going to forget where I was born and raised. But I live my life in America, so going back to Sochi is about showing the world that people with disabilities can live a normal life and can be phenomenal, elite athletes," she said. "It's about showing the world a living success story. That's what it's all about!"

The day after her New York City Marathon victory, Tatyana and the other winners rang the bell to open the New York Stock Exchange. But there's no rest for the weary. McFadden says she's heading back to Maryland to take exams this week, and then she'll resume training toward the end of the week.