World Marathon Majors race heats up in London
The countdown to the inaugural World Marathon Majors Series championship continued today as the Flora London Marathon crowned its winners Martin Lel (KEN) and Chunxiu Zhou (CHN). Lel's victory strengthened the chances for current World Marathon Majors points leader Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) to take the 2006-07 crown. Zhou's victory marked the first time a Chinese athlete male or female has won any one of the five World Marathon Major races.
With a total of 75 points following three, first-place victories, Cheruiyot is nearly untouchable as Lel remains the only competitor within striking distance with 40 second-place points. Today in London, Lel outsprinted second-place finisher Abderrahim Goumri (MAR) and Felix Limo (KEN) in the final stretch to add 25 points to his score. Goumri and Limo picked up 15 and 10 points respectively for their second- and third-place performances.
Zhou earned her first 25 points in the 06-07 series today, placing her in seventh on the leaderboard. �"I know about the World Marathon Majors and I am happy to have the first points now. I think it's a good idea and I will continue to run the World Marathon Majors events", Zhou said.
Gete Wami (ETH) vaulted to second place among the women, earning 15 points today for a 40-point total. She is now in position to challenge current leader Jelena Prokopcuka (55 points). Constantina Tomescu-Dita took third today in London, advancing her total points to 11 and her 2006-07 rank to 13.
Today's top five male and female finishers also earned points toward the overlapping 2007-08 series. They are now tied with last week's top Boston Marathon finishers for the lead in the 2007-08 competition which will crown its champions in November, 2008.
The World Marathon Majors Series will now prepare to incorporate the IAAF World Championships Marathon for the first time this summer. The men's and women's competitions are set for August 25 and September 2, respectively in Osaka, Japan. Following today's Flora London Marathon, only four events remain in the 2006-07 series: IAAF World Championships, real,- Berlin, The LaSalle Bank Chicago and ING New York City.