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World Marathon Majors Update after Worlds
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

OSAKA (02-Sep) -- The marathons at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics had some impact on the World Marathon Majors leaderboards for both the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons, an analysis by Race Results Weekly showed.  A $1,000,000 purse will be split between the top male and female point earners at the conclusion of each two-year season.

On the men's side, the impact on the 2006/2007 season, which wraps up after the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 4, was muted.  Kenya's Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot remains on top of the standings with 75 points, an unassailable total.  Even if he were not to compete in a fall marathon his nearest challenger, Martin Lel with 40 points, cannot catch him even if Lel wins a fall Major.  Twenty five points are awarded for first, 15 for second, 10, 5, and 1.  Newly crowned world champion, Luke Kibet, is now in a four-way tie for fourth with 25 points.

Looking at the 2007/2008 season, three men are tied with 25 points --Cheruiyot, Lel and Kibet-- after each earned victories at the Boston, Flora London and World Championships Marathons, respectively.

The women's competition for the 2006/2007 season is the most interesting.  Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia is in the lead with 55 points over Gete Wami of Ethiopia with 40.  Prokopcuka will run the ING New York City Marathon and Wami will run the real,- Berlin Marathon, organizers have already announced.  But with excellent performances here in Osaka, Zhou Chunxiu of China (silver medal) and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya (gold medal) have moved up in the standings.  Zhou is now tied with Gete Wami for second place with 40 points, and Ndereba is now tied with compatriot Rita Jeptoo with 35 points in fourth place.

Zhou, Jeptoo and Ndereba now have the possibility of winning the overall Majors women's title if they run in a fall major and win, and Prokopcuka and Wami run poorly.  Because the points awarded favor the top-3 finishers so heavily, one fifth place finish by an athlete would only earn them one point and could potentially put them out of contention for the title.  In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by any head-to-head meetings between the tied athletes during the season.  If there were no head-to-head meetings, the tie will be broken by a vote amongst the five World Marathon Majors race directors.

In the 2007/2008 season, Zhou is the points leader with 40 points (1st London and 2nd World Champs), followed by 2007 Boston Marathon champion Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia and Ndereba who are tied for second with 25 points.  Prokopcuka, who was second at Boston in 2007, is tied for fourth with Wami with 15 points.

The next event in the series is the real,- Berlin Marathon on Sunday, September 30.

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