Kipchoge, Keitany bag Ksh51.2m Majors jackpot

Kipchoge, Keitany bag Ksh51.2m Majors jackpot
Eliud Kipchoge (left) receives his World Marathon Majors IX winning plaque after Sunday's Tokyo Marathon. PHOTO/World Marathon Majors

Kenyans  Eliud Kipchoge and Mary Keitany are the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series IX champions, it was announced Sunday by Tim Hadzima, general manager of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and the six leaders of the world’s top marathons, following the Tokyo Marathon 2016, the final race of the Series.

Keitany, who was tied along with Mare Dibaba (Ethiopia) and compatriot Helah Kiprop who won the women’s race in Tokyo, with 41 points, was selected as the Series IX women’s champion in a vote by the leaders of the six AbbottWMM member races, in accordance with the AbbottWMM tie-breaking procedure.

Kipchoge and Keitany, who will each earn $500,000 (Ksh51.2m), were honored at an awards ceremony to mark the conclusion of the year-long series that featured the AbbottWMM races: the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City Marathons, and the IAAF World Championships Marathon.

However, this payout will not be made at once, with the series deciding to stagger it across five years in the aftermath of the Rita Jeptoo a three-time Boston and twice Chicago winner’s doping bust.

Kipchoge arrived at the top of the AbbottWMM Series IX leaderboard, earning 50 points for his victories at the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon and the 2015 BMW BERLIN Marathon.

Mary Keitany earned her AbbottWMM Series IX championship with a victory at the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon and a second-place finish at the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Also honored today were David Mark, of Chicago, Illinois, and Barbara Fleming-Ovens, of Cranfield, Ireland, who finished the Tokyo Marathon to become AbbottWMM Six Star Finishers.  They represent the almost 600 runners from all over the world who have completed all six of the AbbottWMM marathons, and they were the first to receive the new medals that are now available to all Six Star Finishers.

The final race in Series IX concluded a year of remarkable races and significant developments for the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

Series IX marked the first year of Abbott’s title sponsorship, which kicked off when the series began at Tokyo Marathon 2015. In addition, this year AbbottWMM debuted the new-style one-year cycle of Qualifying Races; launched unprecedented anti-doping initiatives including a five-year purse payout program and additional testing of the world’s top marathoners; and created the new Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series.

“This year we’ve demonstrated our commitment to championing the sport, supporting the elite runners who prove that marathoners are among the world’s greatest athletes, and celebrating the 250,000 runners who every year join us on our iconic courses,” said AbbottWMM general manager Tim Hadzima.  “Congratulations to Eliud, Mary, David, Barbara and all our Six Star Finishers, and we look forward to the beginning of Abbott World Marathon Majors Series X and the new Wheelchair Series in Boston in April.”

“We are inspired by these amazing athletes – our elite champions, our Six Star Finishers, and all the runners – who show us what is possible through the power of health,” said Elaine Leavenworth, senior vice president, chief marketing and external affairs officer of Abbott.  “We are pleased to support the Abbott World Marathon Majors and celebrate all the runners who have worked so hard and achieved so much.”

Mary Keitany receives her World Marathon Majors' winners' plaque after Sunday's Tokyo Marathon. PHOTO/World Marathon Majors
Mary Keitany receives her World Marathon Majors’ winners’ plaque after Sunday’s Tokyo Marathon. PHOTO/World Marathon Majors


Athletes earn the following points by placing among the top five in qualifying races during the 12-month period:

1st place – 25 points

2nd place – 16 points

3rd place – 9 points

4th place – 4 points

5th place – 1 point

The champions are the male and female athletes who score the most points during the one-year scoring period. Points from a maximum of two races are scored. An athlete must start in at least two races over the cycle to be eligible. If an athlete earns points in more than two events, the athlete’s highest two finishes are scored.

The AbbottWMM race directors met as a group immediately after the conclusion of the Tokyo Marathon 2016 and participated in a vote to validate the winners of the AbbottWMM Series IX title.  The unanimous vote for the women’s champion focused on the strength of the race fields in which Keitany, Dibaba and Kiprop competed, as determined by the number of total AbbottWMM points earned by their competitors in the respective races.

The following races made up the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series IX:

February 22, 2015       Tokyo Marathon

April 20, 2015             Boston Marathon

April 26, 2015             Virgin Money London Marathon

August 22, 2015          IAAF World Championships Men’s Marathon (Beijing)

August 30, 2015          IAAF World Championships Women’s Marathon (Beijing)

September 27, 2015   BMW BERLIN Marathon

October 11, 2015        Bank of America Chicago Marathon

November 1, 2015      TCS New York City Marathon

February 28, 2016       Tokyo Marathon

Report by World Marathon Majors

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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