Van Dyk took second place in the men’s wheelchair race at the New York Marathon on Sunday, narrowly missing out on a second career victory in the Big Apple.
“This was my eighth podium finish in 24 months in major marathons,” he said on Monday.
“I would have liked to end the year on a high with a win, but it’s been an amazing year and I need some down time now to recover and rebuild.”
The 41-year-old South African was dropped by the lead group with 15km remaining in the 42km race, slipping to seventh position as he struggled to maintain the pace in windy conditions.
“That was probably the lowest point of the year for me, in seventh place and nothing in the tank, but I groundd my teeth and fought back,” he said.
Slowly picking up other competitors as he made his way back through the field, they worked together to chase down leaders Kurt Fearnley of Australia and Tomasz Hamerlak of Poland.
When they had the duo in their sights, Van Dyk was dropped again, but he was able to claw his was back once more. He took the lead shortly before the finish, but Fearnley surged before the line to clinch victory by one second.
“That was honestly the hardest race of my life,” Van Dyk said.
A 10-time Boston Marathon winner and seven-time Paralympic medallist, Van Dyk is the only athlete with a disability among the final nominees for the SA Sports Star of the Year accolade at next month’s SA Sports Awards.