As runners around the world focus on the fall marathon season, the world's best can vault to the top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors leaderboards with victories at either the BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago or TCS New York City Marathons.
All three races feature men's winners from the spring AWMM Series IX season. This scoring period began with the Tokyo Marathon 2015 and will end at the conclusion of the Feb. 28, 2016 Tokyo Marathon.
At the Sept. 27 BMW BERLIN Marathon, all eyes will be on Eliud Kipchoge. The Kenyan son of farmers won the London Marathon this year, his 2:04:42 finish earning him 25 points and a second place standing on the leaderboard. Should Kipchoge again be the first to the finish line, he'll up his total 50 points, and would be the first man to win both London and Berlin races in the same year. An AWMM veteran, Kipchoge is the winner of the 2014 Chicago Marathon.
Other notable names in the Berlin field include previous AWMM champions. Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai is the 2010-2011 WMM winner and Berlin 2014 runner-up, and Geoffrey Mutai holds the 2011-2012 WMM championship after first place finishes at the 2011 Boston and NYC races.
When the Chicago Marathon begins on Oct. 11, Ethiopia's Endeshaw Negesse will have his eye on the $500,000 AWMM prize. The 2015 Tokyo Marathon winner (2:06:00) is currently in second place on the Series IX leaderboard and can obtain 25 points with a first place finish, bringing him to the top of the rankings with 50 points.
Formidable competition for Negesse will be the 2012 Chicago champion Tsegaye Kebede, the 2012-2013 WMM winner. He arrives in the windy city holding several AWMM records, including the most career scoring points (176) and the most top three and top five finishes.
Additional Series IX points scorers competing in Chicago include Wesley Korir (KEN), the Tokyo 2015 third place finisher Dickson Chumba (KEN) and Tilahun Regassa (ETH).
The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon could bring about a lot of change on the Series IX leaderboard as well as new records.
Boston 2015 winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia can increase his points to 50 with a first place finish in New York; his standings will be dependent on Berlin and Chicago results. Wilson Kipsang (KEN), defending AWMM champion and 2014 TCS New York City Marathon winner, could become the first man with five AWMM career victories if he is again first to the finish on Nov. 1.
Another record can be set by Meb Keflezighi, now 40 years old. Should he earn points with a finish in the top five, the 2014 Boston champion will become the oldest AWMM point scorer (the current record is held by Jaouad Gharib, 39).
On the women's side, at the 2015 BMW BERLIN Marathon, 2012 Berlin champion Aberu Kebede (ETH), could score a record-equaling fourth career AWMM victory. Another top prospect is Kenyan Gladys Cherono, who at the beginning of 2015 ran 2:20:03 in Dubai, the third fastest debut ever.
The heavy women's favorite of the 2015 Chicago marathon is Kenya's Florence Kiplagat, the world record holder for the half marathon (1:05:09). She earned AWMM points with her fifth place victory in April in London. Challenging Kiplagat are two accomplished Ethiopians looking to gain their first AWMM career wins. Mulu Seboka over the past decade has run more than 35 marathons unprecedented for an elite marathoner, and she welcomed the new year with a personal record in Dubai, 2:21:56. Amane Gobenaarrives fresh off a personal best and a second-place finish at the 2015 Paris Marathon in 2:23:30.
Two AWMM 2015 spring series winners will be part of the women's elite field in the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon. Reigning Boston Marathon champion Caroline Rotich (KEN) and Virgin Money London Marathon champion Tigist Tufa (ETH) will look to bring their Series IX point totals to 50 points. If Rotich wins, she will be the first woman since 1989 to notch a Boston/NY double.
Defending her NYC championship title will be Mary Keitany of Kenya. The 2011-2012 WMM Series title holder battled with Tufa for a second place win in London in April, and can up her Series IX points to 41 with a win in New York. A first-place NYC finish also will propel Kenya's Helah Kiprop to 41 points. She placed second in the Tokyo Marathon and the Marathon World Championships.
Also in New York's elite field is Priscah Jeptoo 2012-2013 WMM champion and Series IX scorers Buzunesh Deba (ETH), the third-place 2015 Boston Marathon winner, and Aselefech Mergia (ETH), who placed fourth in London in April.