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World Marathon Majors Series reaches midway point with Cheruiyot und Prokopcuka atop leader board

2006-11-06

NEW YORK (November 5, 2006) - The World Marathon Majors (WMM) leader board saw plenty of movement following the results of today’s ING New York City Marathon. Held in near-perfect conditions, Jelena Prokopcuka (LAT) in the women’s race and an unexpected win by Marilson Gomes dos Santos (BRA) on the men’s side, saw the former move to the head of the WMM table, and the latter, install himself in a three-way tie for second with Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) and Felix Limo (KEN).

The 2006-07 World Marathon Majors series began with the Boston and Flora London Marathons in April, and proceeded with the real,- Berlin, The LaSalle Bank Chicago and finally, ING New York City races. With the inaugural year now complete, Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN), the winner in Boston and Chicago, retains his commanding lead by a 25-point margin, while Prokopcuka holds a 10-point margin over Berhane Adere (ETH) and Rita Jeptoo (KEN).

The World Marathon Majors series functions on a two-year cycle, meaning that it will conclude with the 2007 ING New York City Marathon, at which time the leading man and woman will take an equal share of a $1,000,000 prize purse. Thereafter the two-year WMM seasons will overlap, meaning that they will run as follows: 2007/2008; 2008/2009; 2009/2010, etc., with the prize money awarded at the end of each year.

The top five male and female finishers received World Marathon Majors points, with 25 for first, 15 for second, 10 for third, five for fourth and one for fifth. Added to the 15 she earned in Boston, Prokopcuka, thus claimed the place at the top of the World Marathon Majors leader board at the conclusion of the series’ first year. Of the others among ING New York City’s top five, only Jeptoo, the winner in Boston - ahead of Prokopcuka - already appeared in the World Marathon Majors standings. The five points she accumulated here boosted her overall total to 30 points, placing her in equal second position with Adere.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” commented Prokopcuka of her early charge with Luminita Talpos. “I knew that when Hladyr would be still with me on the last hill I could beat her. I am now thinking of running in London for a better time. And I would, of course, like to come back to New York next year.”

Dos Santos had placed sixth in The LaSalle Bank Chicago race in 2004 and 10th in the Helsinki World Championships of 2005, but nobody would have taken a bet on him beating defending Champion and world record holder Paul Tergat (KEN), 2005 ING New York runner-up Hendrick Ramaala (RSA), Olympic champion Stefano Baldini (ITA), Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezhigi (USA) or any of the host of other proven contenders who packed the 2006 ING New York City field.

Dos Santos crossed the line in 2:09:58, with Stephen Kiagora (KEN) at 2:10:06 and Tergat at 2:10:10. Daniel Yego (KEN) placed fourth in 2:10:34, with Rodgers Rop (KEN), claiming the last of the World Marathon Majors points, fifth in 2:11:24.

“For me it wasn't a surprise,” asserted dos Santos, who runs for the same club as Olympic bronze medalist, Vanderlei de Lima. “To win a marathon you have to have courage, and today I had courage. In the marathon, you don't joke around. There were some top runners here, but I was one of them. I wanted to control my pace to make sure I had something left for the last part of the race. I feel now that I'm one of the top guys, and I'm ready to run in any major marathon."

Of the leading men, it was Ramaala who stood to gain the most with a top-five finish. Having placed third in London, he had already amassed 10 points. A win here would not only have avenged his 0.3 second loss to Tergat last year, it would also have moved him into a comfortable WMM second-place position behind the 50-point leader, Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN). Ramaala, however, placed ninth (2:13:04) in New York, out of the scoring positions.

Dos Santos’ win, in contrast, placed an entirely new and unexpected name among the WMM contenders. The 25 points he earned installs him in second place, aside the Flora London and real,- Berlin winners, Felix Limo (KEN) and Haile Gebrselassie (ETH). Further down the standings, the New York results also move Kiogora, Tergat, Yego and Rop onto the leader board for the first time.

At the mid-way point of the 2006-07 World Marathon Majors series, the standings are as follows:

MEN

1. Robert K. Cheruiyot, KEN


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