New York, USA - After his runner-up finish at Sunday's (6) ING New York City Marathon, Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya joined Russian Liliya Shobukhova as the winner of the 2010-2011 World Marathon Majors series, a title which rewards each runner a cool $500,000.
Four men who toed the line in New York were in position to stake a claim for the five-race title, which combines finishes at IAAF Gold Label Road Race Marathons in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. And the decision remained up for grabs until late in the contest, marking the first time in the World Marathon Majors (WMM) five year history the men's title was decided on the last race of the cycle. A similar situation had presented itself twice before on the women’s side.
When Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai made a move around the 35K mark, taking a lead he would not relinquish, it appeared he was set to nab the series title as well as Emmanuel Mutai, the only one at that point with a shot at the title, was far enough back that he seemingly was not a threat.
Things changed quickly dramatically by the 24-mile mark when Emmanuel Mutai moved into third place just behind Gebre Gebremariam. Knowing that moving up one more notch would secure him the half million dollar bonus, he rose to the occasion and created a lead of 46 seconds over Gebremariam over the last 2.2 miles. So despite finishing Emmanuel Mutai's consolation prize was first in the WMM leaderboard with a 70 point 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 in New York 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 New York: 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 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 (7) at Central Park's landmark Tavern on The Green.
WMM for the IAAF
Final Men's Leader Board:
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.
5. 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.