Kastor and Limo collect WMM points at Flora London Marathon
The second event in the World Marathon Majors series took place in the English capital this morning with the running of the 26th annual Flora London Marathon. Announced in January of this year and instigated with the running of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17th, the World Marathon Majors is a unique alliance between the world’s five leading marathons - Boston, Flora London, real,-Berlin, LaSalle Bank Chicago and ING New York City - with a $1,000,000 prize divided amongst the overall male and female winners.
Race organizers billed the 2006 Flora London Marathon men’s and women’s fields as among the greatest of all time. Despite the withdrawal of men’s and women’s world record holders Paul Tergat and Paula Radcliffe due to injury, it would be difficult to disagree. On the starting line in the women’s field were former New York, London and Boston winner Margaret Okayo (KEN, PB 2:20:43), 2004 Chicago winner Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROM, PB 2:21:30), 2000 New York City Lyudmila Petrova (RUS, PB 2:22:33), three time New York second placer Susan Chepkemei (KEN, PB 2:23:12) and Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor (USA, PB 2:21:16). Among the men were 2005 London winner Martin Lel (KEN, PB 2:07:26), former world record holder Khalid Khannouchi (USA, PB 2:05:38), multi-world record holder Haile Gebrselassie (ETH, PB 2:06:20), world champion Jaouad Gharib (MAR, PB 2:07:02), Olympic champion Stefano Baldini (ITA, PB 2:07:29), 2004 New York winner Hendrick Ramaala (RSA, PB 2:08:32) and past Chicago and London winner Evans Rutto (KEN, PB 2:05:50). If ever a stellar field toed a starting line, this was it.
As had transpired in Boston the previous weekend, one race in London produced a display of dominant front-running with the other evolving into a thrilling, hard-fought race to the line. Unlike Boston, however, it was the female winner, Kastor, who proved dominant in the cool, drizzly conditions and who enjoyed a run to the finish in splendid isolation. The American powered away from second placed Chepkemei soon after the 25K mark and, thereafter, was never threatened. Embellishing her win was a new US record of 2:19:36, a prize purse of $105,000 ($55,000 for the win, plus $50,000 for sub-2:22) and 25 points in the World Marathon Majors standings.
Felix Limo secured the same reward on the men’s side ($50,000 for winning, plus $50,000 for sub-2:07), although he was not assured of the victory until a scant 20 meters from the finish line adjacent to Buckingham Palace. The pack remained tightly bunched through 30K, when Rutto surged to the front. That upped the ante, but did not significantly reduce the contenders. That came at 38K when Lel, the defending champion, hit the front with a move that reduced the leading pack from seven down to just he and Limo. Over the final four kilometers, these two engaged in a shoulder to shoulder battle that was not resolved until the latter’s kick decided it with the finish line in sight. Limo’s winning time was 2:06:39, two seconds up on Lel.
With two events in the World Marathon Majors Series completed, the overall standings are as follows:
Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (KEN)
Felix Limo (KEN)
Benjamin Maiyo (KEN)
Martin Lel (KEN)
Mebrahtom Keflezhigi (
Hendrick Ramaala (RSA)
Brian Sell (
Khalid Khannouchi (
Alan Culpepper (
Stefano Baldini (ITA)
Rita Jeptoo (KEN)
Deena Kastor (
Jelena Prokopchuka (LAT)
Lyudmila Petrova (RUS)
Reiko Tosa (JPN)
Susan Chepkemei (KEN)
Bruna Genovese (ITA)
Berhane Adere (ETH)
Kiyoko Shimahara (JPN)
Competitors in the World Marathon Majors series accumulate points in each of the five marathons in which they participate over a two year period. They may contest as many races as they wish, but only their four best count towards the standings. Although the series functions on a two year rotation, the cycles overlap. Hence, the World Marathon Majors cycles proceed as follows: 2006/2007; 2007/2008; 2008/2009, etc. The prize money for the first cycle will be award at the end of 2007, with $1,000,000 divided equally between the first placed man and woman. Thereafter, prize money will be awarded annually. Note: in the years in which they occur, the World Championships and Olympic Games marathons are also part of the series.
With two races now completed, it is to real,-Berlin on Sunday, September 24th that competitors will turn their attention. Significantly, Berlin will be the first race in the World Marathon Majors series providing runners from Boston and London the opportunity to accumulate further points. It was in Berlin in 2003 that Paul Tergat set the current world record figures of 2:04:55.
Following real,-Berlin, the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 22nd. The ING New York City Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 5th.
Standings, breaking news and further information about the World Marathon
Majors, can be found at http://www.worldmarathonmajors.com
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