The new era in long distance running continues with a galaxy of the sport’s brightest stars back in action this month as the World Marathon Majors series resumes at the Flora London Marathon and the 112th running of the Boston Marathon.
More than $850,000 in prize money, prestige and all important points in the race to crown the 2007-2008 WMM champions will be on the line in the British capital on Sunday, April 13 followed eight days later at the celebrated Hopkinton to Boston course on Monday, April 21.
Reigning women’s WMM champion Gete Wami of Ethopia leads the field in London while the WMM men’s champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya tops the field in Boston.
In London, United States sensation Ryan Hall makes his first start since winning the US Olympic Team Trials – Men’s Marathon race last fall in New York. It will be his second consecutive appearance in London, following his breakthrough seventh place finish last year in his 26.2-mile debut. Also in the field are defending champion Martin Lel of Kenya, Olympic gold medalist Stefano Baldini of Italy, South African veteran Hendrick Ramaala, Moroccans Abderrahim Goumri and Jaouad Gharib, World champion Luke Kibet of Kenya and his countryman, the World half marathon record holder Sammy Wanjiru.
In addition to Wami, the women’s field in London features her Ethiopian compatriot Berhane Adere, Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania and Russian Svetlana Zakharova.
Cheruiyot will be chasing history as the 2003, 2006 and 2007 champion seeks to become the first Kenyan man to claim four Boston Marathon crowns. Leading challengers are Kenyans Patrick Ivuti, Stephen Kiogora and former champion Timothy Cherigat. The women’s field is lead by defending champion Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia who will be chased by last year’s runner-up Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia and past champions Margaret Okayo and Rita Jeptoo both of Kenya.
The WMM Series leader boards are sure to have a new look after the races as many of the top contenders are in action. On the men’s side, six of the top seven are running – Lel (1), Goumri (2), Cheruiyot (3), Kibet (4), Ivuti (4) and Gharib (7). Wami is atop the women’s leader board with Grigoryeva (3), Prokopcuka (5) and Adhere (5).
WMM series points are collected for top five finishes with 25 points for 1st, 15 for 2nd, 10 for 3rd, 5 for 4th and 1 for 5th. The WMM series features a $1 million purse with $500,000 for the men’s and women’s champions.
This year’s WMM series continues with the Olympic Games men’s and women’s marathons in Beijing on August 17th and Aug 24th respectively followed by the fall season beginning at the real-Berlin Marathon, September 28, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, October 12 and the ING New York City Marathon, November 2nd.