Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Inaugural World Marathon Majors Series to Conclude at ING New York City Marathon
NEW YORK CITY – Nearly two years have passed since organizers of the Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City marathons announced the formation of the World Marathon Majors (WMM), and 10 events, including the IAAF World Championships, have been run since the WMM Series was launched at the 2006 Boston Marathon. Just one race – the 2007 ING New York City Marathon – remains before the inaugural WMM Series champions will be presented with their share of the $1 million jackpot at a special luncheon on November 5.
Remarkably, after 10 events – and 262 miles of racing – the women's WMM Series champion has yet to be decided. Of the 32 women who have earned WMM points, just two remain in contention for the title: Gete Wami (ETH) and Jelena Prokopcuka (LAT). With $500,000 at stake, in addition to the ING New York City Marathon prize purse, the two women will race head-to-head through the streets of New York. A win for either would clinch the title, but anything less than victory opens up an intriguing number of potential results.
Wami leads with 65 points; however she will be running New York on short rest, having won Berlin just five weeks earlier. Prokopcuka, meanwhile, trails Wami by 10 points on the leaderboard but will be fully rested and looking for her third consecutive victory in the Big Apple. Neither woman will have an easy road to victory, however, as the New York field includes, among others, Boston champion Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS), world champion Catherine Ndereba (KEN), and world record holder Paula Radcliffe (GBR).
There are 31 different scoring scenarios between Wami and Prokopcuka, three of which involve a tie atop the leaderboard. In the event of a tie, head-to-head competition in WMM events would be the first tie breaker. Prokopcuka therefore holds the advantage in case of a tie since she and Wami will be racing head-to-head for the first time in New York. Of course, that is but one of the many possible scenarios that could play out. Among the others:
* If Prokopcuka wins New York, she wins the WMM Series;
* If Prokopcuka is runner-up in New York and Wami places fourth or lower, Prokopcuka wins the WMM Series;
* If Prokopcuka places third in New York and Wami is outside of the top five, Prokopcuka wins the WMM Series.
* All other scoring scenarios would result in Wami clinching the WMM Series.
* For a complete breakdown of the different scenarios, please see the attached spreadsheet.
On the men's side the picture is far simpler. Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) took the early Series lead with a win at the 2006 Boston Marathon and has never looked back. Subsequent victories in Chicago and again in Boston solidified his hold on the top spot, and a fourth-place finish in Chicago earlier this month clinched the WMM Series title. Trailing Cheruiyot's 80 point total is Haile Gebrselassie (ETH), who twice won the real,-Berlin Marathon to earn his 50 points. Entered in the 2007 ING New York City Marathon are Martin Lel (KEN; 3rd, 40 pts.), Stephen Kiogora (KEN; 5th, 25 pts.), and Marilson Gomes dos Santos (BRA; 5th, 25 pts.).
The past two years have been about more than the chase for the WMM title, however. A total of 71 men and women have earned points in the two-year series, one world record and 14 national records were established, and one race after another was decided by a thrilling finish. Among the many highlights from 2006-2007:
* April 17, 2006: Cheruiyot sets a Boston Marathon course record of 2:07:14.
* April 23, 2006: Deena Kastor (USA) joins the elite sub-2:20 club and sets a new American record of 2:19:36 with her victory in the Flora London Marathon.
* September 24, 2006: Wami earns a share of the WMM Series lead with a victory in the real,-Berlin Marathon.
* October 22, 2006: Cheruiyot takes a commanding WMM Series lead with his win at The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.
* November 5, 2006: Prokopcuka wins her second consecutive ING New York City Marathon title and assumes the WMM Series lead.
* April 16, 2007: Cheruiyot wins his third straight WMM event at the Boston Marathon.
* April 22, 2007: Lel, runner-up by a mere two seconds in 2006, returns to London and wins by three seconds in another thrilling sprint to the finish.
* September 2, 2007: Ndereba captures her second IAAF World Championship title. The victory is the eighth of her career in WMM events.
* September 30, 2007: Gebrselassie sets a new world record of 2:04:26 at the real,-Berlin Marathon, while Wami's win vaults her to the top of the women's leaderboard.
* October 7, 2007: Patrick Ivuti (KEN) wins The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon by just five one-hundredths of a second, the closest finish in WMM history.
The WMM Series is structured in overlapping scoring periods of two years, so while the 2006-2007 Series is drawing to a close, the 2007-2008 Series is just reaching its mid-way point. Cheruiyot leads the men with 30 points, however Lel (2nd, 25 pts.), James Kwambai (KEN; 7th, 15 pts.), Abderrahim Goumri (MAR; 7th, 15 pts.), and Kiogora (11th, 10 pts.) are each poised to pass him with a victory in New York.
Much is at stake in New York for the women as well. Six of the top 14 women on the 2007-2008 leaderboard are entered, with Wami currently in first place with 40 points. She is followed by Grigoryeva (3rd, 25 pts.), Ndereba (3rd, 25 pts.), Prokopcuka (6th, 15 pts.), Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROU; 9th, 10 pts.), and Salina Kosgei (KEN; 14th, 5 pts.).
Athletes will have six chances to score points in 2008 as the WMM Series will include, for the first time, the Olympic Games in Beijing.
With just one race remaining in the 2006-2007 World Marathon Majors Series, the top-10 standings are as follows (for complete standings, go to www.worldmarathonmajors.com):
MEN'S TOP 10
1. Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) 80 pts.
1st 2006 Boston 2:07:14 25
1st 2006 Chicago 2:07:35 25
1st 2007 Boston 2:14:13 25
4th 2007 Chicago 2:16:13 5
2. Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 50 pts.
1st 2006 Berlin 2:05:56 25
1st 2007 Berlin 2:04:26 (WR) 25
3. Martin Lel (KEN) 40 pts.
2nd 2006 London 2:06:41 15
1st 2007 London 2:07:41 25
4. Felix Limo (KEN) 35 pts.
1st 2006 London 2:06:39 25
3rd 2007 London 2:07:57 10
5. Stephen Kiogora (KEN) 25 pts.
2nd 2006 New York 2:10:06 15
3rd 2007 Boston 2:14:47 10
5. Marilson Gomes dos Santos (BRA) 25 pts.
1st 2006 New York 2:08:37 25
5. Luke Kibet (KEN) 25 pts.
1st 2007 IAAF World Championships 2:15:59 25
5. Patrick Ivuti (KEN) 25 pts.
1st 2007 Chicago 2:11:11 25
5. Daniel Njenga (KEN) 25 pts.
2nd 2006 Chicago 2:07:40 15
3rd 2007 Chicago 2:12:45 10
10. Jaouad Gharib (MAR) 20 pts.
4th 2007 London 2:07:54 5
2nd 2007 Chicago 2:11:11 15
WOMEN TOP 10
1. Gete Wami (ETH) 65 pts.
1st 2006 Berlin 2:21:34 25
2nd 2007 London 2:21:45 15
1st 2007 Berlin 2:23:17 25
2. Jelena Prokopcuka (LAT) 55 pts.
2nd 2006 Boston 2:23:48 15
1st 2006 New York 2:25:05 25
2nd 2007 Boston 2:29:58 15
2. Berhane Adere (ETH) 55 pts.
4th 2006 London 2:21:52 5
1st 2006 Chicago 2:20:42 25
1st 2007 Chicago 2:33:49 25
4. Zhou Chunxiu (CHN) 40 pts.
1st 2007 London 2:20:38 25
2nd 2007 IAAF World Championships 2:30:45 15
5. Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 35 pts.
1st 2006 Boston 2:23:38 25
4th 2006 New York 2:26:59 5
4th 2007 Boston 2:33:08 5
5. Catherine Ndereba (KEN) 35 pts.
3rd 2006 New York 2:26:58 10
1st 2007 IAAF World Championships 2:30:37 25
7. Deena Kastor (USA) 26 pts.
1st 2006 London 2:19:36 25
5th 2007 Boston 2:35:09 1
7. Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) 26 pts.
5th 2006 New York 2:27:21 1
1st 2007 Boston 2:29:18 25
9. Salina Kosgei (KEN) 20 pts.
2nd 2006 Berlin 2:23:22 15
4th 2007 London 2:24:13 5
9. Reiko Tosa (JPN) 20 pts.
3rd 2006 Boston 2:24:11 10
3rd 2007 IAAF World Championships 2:30:55 10
Points are awarded on the following scale: 1st = 25; 2nd = 15; 3rd = 10; 4th = 5; 5th = 1