Ethiopian Tiki Gelana smashed Olympic record at women's Olympic marathon in London
In a thrilling battle of 'Kenya versus Ethiopia, it wasn't until a mile to go, when Ethiopian Tiki Gelana took the lead and finished the women's Olympic Marathon race in a new Olympic Record of 2:23:07. With this win she also scored her first WMM points. Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya came in second, clocking 2:23:12. With this silver medal Jeptoo is now in 4th place with 40 points in the WMM leaderboard. First European and bronze medalist is Tatyana Petrova of Russia, clocking a personal best of 2:23:29. Pre-race favorite Mary Keitany (KEN) finished 4th in 2:23:56 and Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko bettered Ukraine's National Record in 2:24:32. She also received her first WMM point.
The five-second winning margin by Gelana is the smallest-ever winning margin in the Olympics. It was also the fastest time for place by the Top 8 in an Olympic race.
It was the second time since the launch of the World Marathon Majors Series in 2006, that the Olympic Games were counted in the scoring.
The race started off slowly as everybody was watching each other. It wasn't until 25 km when a leading group developed from the field and made a move and threw apart the field. One of the big race favorites and last year's World Marathon Majors Champion, Liliya Shobukhova (RUS), dropped out just before half way. In the last 15 km it was battle between Tiki Gelana, Priscah Jeptoo, Mary Keitany and Edna Kiplagat (KEN). At around 30 km Petrova (RUS) managed to get into that leading group. Edna Kiplagat lost contact after 35 km and for the last 7 km the group consisted of only four athletes.
In the lead for the WMM 2011-2012 Series is still Mary Keitany with 65 points. Second is Edna Kiplagat (50 points/KEN) while Sharon Cherop (45 points/KEN) is in the third position.
MEN'S RACE PREVIEW
Of the top 10 in the current WMM Series standings, only three athletes are racing in the Olympic Marathon: Kenya's trio of Wilson Kipsang, the 2012 Virgin London Marathon champion; Abel Kirui, the two-time IAAF World Champion (2009 and 2011); and Emmanuel Mutai, the 2011 Virgin London Marathon champion and 2010-2011 WMM Series winner. Given that, we could see a huge change in the WMM standings prior to the Fall 2012 races at the BMW Berlin Marathon on September 30th, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th, and the Series finale on November 4th at the ING New York City Marathon.