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World Marathon Majors: Excitement runs high after Irina Mikitenko’s win in Berlin


Irina Mikitenko has gone into the lead in the second season of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) 2007-2008 with her victory in the real, - BERLIN MARATHON. The German now has 65 points after a fantastic race in the German capital where she won in 2:19:19 , making her the fourth fastest female marathoner of all time and taking her into equal first place alongside Gete Wami ( Ethiopia ) for the season. Mikitenko has also taken the lead for the third WMM Series in 2008-2009 with 50 points from two races. The 36-year-old had a surprise win in the Flora London Marathon in April and was second in Berlin a year ago.

In the men’s rankings Haile Gebrselassie, who improved his own world record with 2:03:59 in Berlin , has moved up to third with 50 points for the 2007-2008 season. But the Ethiopian has no chance of winning the overall WMM title. The Kenyan Martin Lel leads with 76 points and the only man who could overtake him is his compatriot Robert K. Cheruiyot, depending on whether the latter wins in Chicago or New York . But so far he has made no announcement about running either of those races on 12 October or 2 November. Haile Gebrselassie certainly has excellent prospects for the 2008-2009 season. He has 25 points, the same as Robert K. Cheruiyot, behind the Kenyan pair of Sammy Wanjiru (40 points) and Martin Lel (26).

The World Marathon Majors (WMM) brings together the best big city marathon races in the world (Flora London, Boston, real, - Berlin, Bank of America Chicago and ING New York City-Marathon) which have put up prize money of one million dollars (US) for each of the WMM Series to be shared by the winning man and woman. A win in a WMM race is worth 25 points while fifth place earns one point. The marathon races at the World Championships and Olympic Games are also included in the series.

A really exciting contest is developing in the women’s competition for the second season of 2007-2008. Gete Wami must finish second or better in New York to improve her points’ total for the season. The Ethiopian has already taken maximum points from four races so finishing third, fourth or fifth would not benefit her. She was second in London in 2007, first in Berlin in 2007, second in New York in 2007 and third in London 2008.

There still remain the Chinese Chunxiu Zhou and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya who, if they win in Chicago or New York, could overhaul the rest and take the lead. However, after winning medals in the Olympic Marathon (silver for Ndereba, bronze for Zhou), neither has made any announcement about entering either of these races.

If the women’s competition should finish with Mikitenko and Wami level on points, then the win-loss ratio would be taken into account: even this would not produce a result since the Ethiopian finished ahead of the German in Berlin a year ago and the positions were reversed in London . At present, factors such as how many races runners have done to achieve their points’ total, how far in front of one another they’ve finished in terms of places or time in the relevant WMM races are not in the WMM rules. It would be up to the race directors to work out how they decide the winner.

Current Standings in the second WWM Series 2007-2008:

MEN 2007- 2008 series 2

1 Martin Lel (KEN) 76 points
2 Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) 55
3 Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 50
4 Abderrahim Goumri (MAR) 40
4 Samuel Wanjiru (KEN) 40
6 James Kwambi (KEN) 31


1 Irina Mikitenko (GER) 65 Points
1 Gete Wami (ETH) 65
3 Chunxiu Zhou (CHN) 50
4 Catherine Ndereba (KEN) 41
5 Constantina Tomescu Dita (ROM) 35
6 Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) 30
6 Jelena Prokopcuka (LET) 30
8 Dire Tune (ETH) 25
8 Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 25
8 Berhane Adere (ETH) 25
11 Alevtina Biktimirova (RUS) 15
11 Svetlana Zakharova (RUS) 15
11 Adriana Pirtea (ROM) 15
11 Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 15
11 Askale Tafa Margasa (ETH) 15

Current Standings in the third WMM Series 2008-2009

Men 2008 – 2009 series 3

1 Samuel Wanjiru (KEN) 40 Points
2 Martin Lel (KEN) 26
3 Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 25
3 Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) 25
5 Jaoud Gharib (MAR) 15
5 Abderrahim Bouramdare (MAR) 15
5 James Kwambai (KEN) 15


1 Irina Mikitenko (GER) 50 points
2 Dire Tune (ETH) 25 points
2 Contstantina Tomescu Dita (ROM) 25 points
4 Askale Tafa Margasa (ETH) 16 points

Further information can be found at:


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