DAEGU, South Korea, August 25- As the top track and field athletes from around the world arrive in Daegu, Korea for the IAAF World Championships, marathon runners will compete for World Marathon Majors (WMM) points in addition to the medals on offer.
The women’s and men’s marathons, scheduled for Saturday and September 4 will factor heavily into the current 2010-2011 series standings with a number of WMM point-scorers representing their national teams.
London Marathon champion and course record holder, Emmanuel Mutai, who opted to give Daegu the bye to focus on the fall marathons of Berlin, Chicago and New York leads the men’s standings on 55 points with countrymen, defending Worlds titleholder, Abel Kirui and Vincent Kipruto in Team Kenya’s line-up here.
They will depart for Korea next week after they chose to extend their high altitude training in readiness for the Worlds test.
Boston marathon winner, Geoffrey Mutai, who ran the fastest marathon ever in 2:02:01 and Moses Mosop, who followed him in 2:02:04 also opted out of Korea to focus on the remaining three WMM events.
In the absence of Mutai, Ethiopia’s Gebre Gebremariam, the New York Marathon champion and third place Boston Marathon finisher, currently tied for fourth on the leader board with 35 points would propel himself into the series lead with a World Championship victory.
Compatriots Feyisa Lilesa and Bazu Worku, with 10 points apiece, are also poised to climb the series standings with top five finishes in Daegu but it is up to Kirui, Kipruto, Benjamin Kiplagat, David Barmasai and Eliud Kiptanui to halt the Ethiopian charge.
The women’s race features a number of athletes on the WMM leader board, namely, New York Marathon champion and third place in London Edna Kiplagat, currently tied for second with 35 points.
A gold medal performance would propel her into sole possession of second place, five points behind top-ranked Liliya Shobukhova of Russia. Kiplagat will be joined on the start line by teammates Sharon Cherop and Caroline Rotich, the third and fourth place Boston Marathon finishers as the country seeks to produce another female Worlds marathon winner apart from twice champion, Catherine Ndereba.
The Ethiopian squad will be led by Bezunesh Bekele and Aberu Kebede, tied for fourth on the leader board with 25 points apiece. Additionally, Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia, the 2009 World Championship bronze medalist, and Atsede Baysa could vastly improve their WMM rankings with top finishes at the World Championships.
The 2010-2011 WMM series will conclude with the fall series races-the BMW Berlin Marathon on September 25, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9, and the ING New York City Marathon November 6.
2010-2011 Series Standings – Top 5 Men
1. Emmanuel Mutai (KEN) 55 pts.
1st 2011 London 2:04:40
2nd 2010 New York 2:09:18
2nd 2010 London 2:06:23
2. Tsegaye Kebede (ETH) 41 pts.
5th 2011 London 2:07:48
2nd 2010 Chicago 2:06:43
1st 2010 London 2:05:18
3. Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 40 pts.
1st 2011 Boston 2:03:02
2nd 2010 Berlin 2:05:10
4. Patrick Makau (KEN) 35 pts.
3rd 2011 London 2:05:45
1st 2010 Berlin 2:05:08
4. Gebre Gebremariam (ETH) 35 pts.
3rd 2011 Boston 2:04:53
1st 2010 New York 2:08:13
2010-2011 Series Standings – Top 5 Women
1. Liliya Shobukhova (RUS) 65 pts.
2nd 2011 London 2:20:15
1st 2010 Chicago 2:20:25
1st 2010 London 2:22:00
2. Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 35 pts.
3rd 2011 London 2:20:46
1st 2010 New York 2:27:20
2. Mary Keitany (KEN) 35 pts.
1st 2011 London 2:19:19
3rd 2010 New York 2:29:01
4. Aberu Kebede (ETH) 25 pts.
1st 2010 Berlin 2:23:58
4. Teyba Erkesso (ETH) 25 pts.
1st 2010 Boston 2:26:11
4. Bezunesh Bekele (ETH) 25 pts.
4th 2011 London 2:23:40
2nd 2010 Berlin 2:24:58
4th 2010 London 2:23:16
4. Caroline Kilel (KEN) 25 pts.
1st 2011 Boston 2:22:36