The 2019 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON will provide the setting for the conclusion of a historic Series XII of the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

It began in the German capital in blistering fashion in September 2018 when two world records and a course record all fell on a sun-soaked morning in the city.

Manuela Schär began what would be the most dominant season in Majors history by claiming the women’s wheelchair world record in a winning time of 1:36:53, while Gladys Cherono successfully defended her women’s crown with a course record of 2:18:11.

But the headlines were grabbed by the great Eliud Kipchoge, who obliterated the men’s world record with an eye-watering 2:01:39.

We arrive back in the city to find Schär uncatchable at the top of the women’s wheelchair leaderboard after six straight wins with Tatyana McFadden in second place followed by rising Australian star Madison de Rozario. 

Kipchoge is still waiting for someone to join him on 50 points at the top of the men’s standings, after he added a course record win in London (2:02:37) to that epic Berlin feat. With the Kenyan relinquishing his Berlin crown as he prepares for another attempt at the two-hour barrier, a clutch of Ethiopians headline the men’s field.  

Reigning Tokyo champion Birhanu Legese is among them and has the chance to tie Kipchoge at the top of the leaderboard, which would force a vote by the race directors to decide this year’s men’s champion.

On the women’s side another Kenyan, Brigid Kosgei, has recorded a maximum 50 points after crushing wins in Chicago and London and will be watching on to see if reigning Berlin champion Gladys Cherono can join her on maximum points.

Even if Cherono – going for a third consecutive triumph in Berlin – does pull alongside her compatriot at the top of the house, Kosgei’s win over her in London means she can only be denied a maiden Series silver salver by 2019 Tokyo champion Ruti Aga.

The Ethiopian runs the IAAF World Championships Marathon in Doha on Friday 27 September. Victory for Aga in that race would also give her 50 points and place the decision over who will be champion into the hands of the race directors.

There is no stopping Daniel Romanchuk in the men’s wheelchair competition, who does not compete this weekend but has the Series title firmly in his hold.

He was barely 20 when won his first AbbottWMM race, fending off the vastly more experienced Marcel Hug and David Weir to raise the American flag in Chicago last October, and was again too strong for his rivals in the hills of Central Park to take his first New York City victory just a couple of weeks later.

Wins in Boston and London last spring and a maximum three bonus point victories have propelled the University of Illinois man into an invincible position as we approach Berlin. Hug finds himself in the unfamiliar role of runner-up but will want to add to his 17 Abbott World Marathon Majors wins on a course that has brought him plenty of success over the years.

There are permutations galore to be worked through to decide who will complete the podium places in this elite men’s and women’s series’, but what’s certain is there has never been a year like it since the dawn of the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

Just one more chapter to go.

How they stand

Men’s top 5 (top two finishes count) Asterisk denotes racing Berlin

Pos. Name Country Points Finishes
1 Eliud Kipchoge KEN 50  2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, 1st
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 1st
2 Lelisa Desisa ETH 41 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 1st
2019 Boston Marathon, 2nd
3 Mosinet Geremew ETH 32 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2nd 
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 2nd
4 Mo Farah GBR 26 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 1st  
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 5th
5 Birhanu Legese * ETH 25 2019 Tokyo Marathon, 1st

Women’s top 5 (top two finishes count) Asterisk denotes racing Berlin

Pos. Name Country Points Finishes
1 Brigid Kosgei KEN 50 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 1st
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 1st
2 Ruti Aga ETH 41 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, 2nd 
2019 Tokyo Marathon, 1st
3 Vivian Cheruiyot* KEN 32 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 2nd 
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 2nd
4 Gladys Cherono* KEN 26 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, 1st
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 4th
5 Mary Keitany KEN 25 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 1st 
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 5th

Wheelchair men’s top 5 (top four finishes count) Asterisk denotes racing Berlin

Pos. Name Country Points Finishes
1 Daniel Romanchuk USA 124  2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 1st
2018 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 1st 
2019 Boston Marathon, 1st
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 1st
2 Marcel Hug* SUI 81 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, 2nd 
2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2nd
2018 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 2nd 
2019 Tokyo Marathon, 1st
3 Brent Lakatos* CAN 33 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, 1st  
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 2nd
4 David Weir* GBR 19 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 3rd 
2018 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 3rd 
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 5th
5 Masazumi Soejima JAP 16 2019 Boston Marathon, 2nd

Wheelchair women’s top 5 (top four finishes count) Asterisk denotes racing Berlin

Pos. Name Country Points Finishes
1 Manuela Schär* SUI 124  2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, 1st  
2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 1st  
2018 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 1st 
2019 Tokyo Marathon, 1st 
2019 Boston Marathon, 1st
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 1st
2 Tatyana McFadden  USA 72 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 2nd 
2019 Tokyo Marathon, 2nd 
2019 Boston Marathon, 2nd 
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 2nd
3 Madison de Rozario* AUS 42 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2nd
2019 Boston Marathon, 3rd 
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, 3rd
4 Susannah Scaroni USA 19 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, 2nd 
2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 3rd 
2019 Tokyo Marathon, 3rd 
2019 Boston Marathon, 5th
5 Sandra Graf* SUI 13 2019 Tokyo Marathon, 3rd 
2019 Boston Marathon, 5th

Highlights