Scenarios abound in the determination of the men’s winner.
BOSTON — The men’s race for the 2010-2011 World Marathon Majors title will come down to the wire this weekend in the Big Apple. A cast of potential winners will toe the starting line on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the ING New York City Marathon, the eleventh and final race of the two-year WMM cycle. The women’s competition was won in October, when Liliya Shobukhova (Russia) 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.
Things are much tighter on the men’s side. Standings leader Patrick Makau of Kenya has used repeat victories in the BMW Berlin Marathon in 2011 and 2010 (25 points each), as well as a third place finish in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon (10 points), to build a five point lead over the pack. With his world record performance of 2:03:38 in Berlin coming just six weeks ago, his season is complete, his point total is set at 60, and he won’t compete on Sunday in New York.
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.
In pursuit of Makau, the field is thick and talented. Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya (55 pts.), Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia (41 pts.), Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya (40 pts.), and Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia (35 pts.) are all statistically in the hunt to win the grand prize on Sunday. Moses Mosop of Kenya (40 pts.), is just four weeks removed from his 2:05:37 win in Chicago, and he too, will not compete in New York.
The four competitors can drastically alter the landscape of the leaderboard with an array of combinations.
Patrick Makau can only win the Series if Emmanuel Mutai finishes no higher than fifth and Kebede, G. Mutai, and Gebremariam don’t win in NYC. Should E. Mutai finish fourth, and Kebede and G. Mutai not win, E. Mutai would take the tiebreaker over Makau because of his higher placement in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon.
Emmanuel Mutai can also win with a first or second finish in NYC, or a third place finish in NYC combined with G. Mutai or Kebede placing not higher than second. For Tsegaye Kebede to win the Series, he must win NYC and Emmanuel Mutai must place no higher than third.
For Geoffrey Mutai to win the Series, he must win NYC and E. Mutai must finish no higher than third. If E. Mutai does finish third, they’d both be tied at 65. The title would go to G. Mutai as his performance on Sunday would be better in his head-to-head matchup than Emmanuel’s.
Gebre Gebremariam can win the Series if E. Mutai finishes no higher than fifth, and G. Mutai and Kebede finish no higher than second. He would then be tied with Makau at 60 points. Without head-to-head competition with Makau, the next tie-breakers are: most points achieved in the fewest number qualifying races, number of wins, and average time (respectively) will be employed. In this instance, both Gebremariam and Makau will have won two races and placed in three. Makau would likely take victory with his lower average time. Should a tie remain after all tiebreakers are in effect, the five race directors will determine the Series champion.
1. Patrick Makau – Kenya – 60 points (Season finished)
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.
2. Emmanuel Mutai – Kenya – 55 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.
3. Tsegaye Kebede – Ethiopia – 41 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.
4t. Moses Mosop – Kenya – 40 points (Season finished)
1st, 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon – 2:05:37 – 25 pts.
2nd, 2011 Boston Marathon – 2:03:06 – 15 pts.
4t. Geoffrey Mutai – Kenya – 40 pts.
1st, 2011 Boston Marathon – 2:03:02 – 25 pts.
2nd, 2010 -real, Berlin Marathon – 2:05:08 – 15 pts.
6. Gebre Gebremariam – Ethiopia – 35 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 pts.
Complete WMM Series leaderboards are posted at worldmarathonmajors.com.