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
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:
1. Robert K. Cheruiyot, KEN