New York (November 6, 2011) Four athletes who toed the line for the 2011 ING New York City Marathon were in position to stake a claim to the 2010-2011 World Marathon Majors title - and the decision was up for grabs until late in the race making it the most exciting finish ever when Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai finally emerged victorious. It was the first time in the WMM five year history the men's title was decided on the last race of the cycle - a situation that had presented itself twice before on the women's side.
When Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai made a move around the 35K mark, taking a lead he would not relinquish, it appeared he was set up to earn the $500,000 WMM bonus since the only other man who could catch a first-place Geoffrey, Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai, was far enough back he seemingly was not a threat.
Things changed quickly though as by the 24-mile mark Emmanuel Mutai appeared in third place just behind Tsegaye Kebede. Motivated by the knowledge that if he could get by the Ethiopian and take second in NY he would surpass Geoffrey in the WMM standings, Emmanuel rose to the occasion and created a lead of 46 seconds over Kebede over the last 2.2 miles. So despite finishing behind Geoffrey Mutai at New York, Emmanuel's consolation prize was first in the WMM leaderboard with 70 points total to Geoffrey's 65.
The 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon champion and world-record holder Patrick Makau had a tenuous five- point lead in the series going in to New York with 60 points followed by Emmanuel Mutai (55 points), Tsegaye Kebede (41), Geoffrey Mutai (40) and Gebre Gebremariam (35), setting up a race with a complicated matrix of possible WMM winners depending on the final finishes of the trailing four.
The two previous times that a WMM title came down to the last race of the circuit both involved the women. In 2007, Gete Wami secured the initial WMM title with a second-place finish at the NYC Marathon edging out Jelena Prokopcuka who finished third in the race. Those results gave Wami 80 points for the 2006/2007 cycle and left Prokopcuka with 65.
The following year, two women could have clinched the WMM title with a strong showing in the ING New York City Marathon: Gete Wami (65 points) and Catherine Ndereba (41 points). Not entered in New York, but also in contention, was Irina Mikitenko (65 points) however when neither Ndereba (5th) nor Wami (6th) clinched the victory, Wami and Mikitenko remained tied atop the leaderboard with 65 points. Under the rules of the WMM Series, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head competition however the two athletes each had beaten each other once. As a result, the champion was determined by a vote taken by the five race directors of the World Marathon Majors - and they unanimously decided that the winner of the 2007-2008 Series was Mikitenko.
The 2010-2011 women's WMM competition was won in October, when Liliya Shobukhova (Russia) broke the tape in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:18:20, and set an insurmountable 30-point lead in the standings to win the $500,000 prize.
Shobukhova and Mutai will receive their trophies and bonus prize money on Monday, November 7 at a press conference at The Tavern on The Green in Central Park at 12 noon / photocall 11.45am. Both athletes will be in attendance and available for interview.
Final men's leaderboard
1. Emmanuel Mutai, Kenya, 70 points
1st, 2011 Virgin London Marathon - 2:04:40 - 25 pts.
2nd, 2010 ING New York City Marathon - 2:09:18 - 15 pts.
2nd, 2010 Virgin London Marathon - 2:06:23 - 15 pts.
2nd, 2011 ING New York City Marathon - 2:06:28 - 15 pts.
2. Geoffrey Mutai - Kenya - 65 pts.
1st, 2011 Boston Marathon - 2:03:02 - 25 pts.
2nd, 2010 -real, Berlin Marathon - 2:05:08 - 15 pts.
1st, 2011 ING New York City Marathon, 2:05:06 - 25 pts.
3. Patrick Makau - Kenya - 60 points
1st, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon - 2:03:38 (WR) - 25 pts.
3rd, 2011 Virgin London Marathon - 2:05:45 - 10 pts.
1st, 2010 -real, Berlin Marathon - 2:05:08 - 25 pts.
4. Tsegaye Kebede - Ethiopia - 51 points
5th, 2011 Virgin London Marathon - 2:07:48 - 1 pt.
2nd, 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon - 2:06:43 - 15 pts.
1st, 2010 Virgin London Marathon - 2:05:19 - 25 pts.
3rd, 2011 ING New York City Marathon - 2:07:13 - 10 pts.
5. Moses Mosop - Kenya - 40 points
1st, 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon - 2:05:37 - 25 pts.
2nd, 2011 Boston Marathon - 2:03:06 - 15 pts.
6. Gebre Gebremariam - Ethiopia - 40 pts.
DNF, 2011 IAAF World Championships - 0 pts.
3rd, 2011 Boston Marathon - 2:04:53 - 10 pts.
1st, 2010 ING New York City Marathon - 2:08:14 - 25 points
4th, 2011 ING New York City Marathon - 2:08:00 - 5 pts.
The World Marathon Majors point structure
1st Place - 25 pts. 2nd Place - 15 pts. 3rd Place - 10 pts. 4th Place - 5 pts. 5th Place - 1 pt.
World Marathon Major media contacts:
New York – Richard Finn - + 1 212 423 2229 / email@example.com
Boston – Jack Fleming + 1 617 236 1652 x 2627 firstname.lastname@example.org / T.K. Skenderian + 617 778 1632 email@example.com
London – Nicola Okey + 44 207 902 0182 firstname.lastname@example.org
Berlin – Thomas Steffens + 49 171 933 48 36 email@example.com
Chicago – Robin Monsky - firstname.lastname@example.org