Revealed: The four Kenyans in pole position for Ksh34m World Marathon Majors prize

ATHLETICS Revealed: The four Kenyans in pole position for Ksh34m World Marathon Majors prize

Joel Omotto • 13:20 - 27.04.2023

The runners have taken early leads as the race for the lucrative prize gathers pace following wins in Tokyo, Boston and London

Kenyan runners lead the chase for the nearly Ksh34 million World Marathon Majors cash prize following the conclusion of three out of six races that make up the hunt.

Winners of the World Marathon Majors are each guaranteed $250,000 (Ksh33.9 million), second place $50,000 (Ksh6.79 million) and third place $25,000 (Ksh3.39 million) which acts as extra motivation for the runners as it boosts their kitty besides what they take home for winning the race, breaking records and appearance fees.

After Tokyo, Boston and London marathons, Kenya’s Evans Chebet, Kelvin Kiptum lead the men’s category while compatriots Rosemary Wanjiru and Hellen Obiri lead the women’s side.

There is no clear frontrunner, however, given it is still early in the season with both Chebet and Kiptum on 25 points following their wins in Boston and London respectively while Ethiopian Deso Gelmisa, the Tokyo Marathon champion, is also on the same number of points.

It is the same in the women’s category where Tokyo winner Wanjiru is tied on 25 points with Obiri, the Boston Marathon champion, and Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan, who claimed victory in London on Sunday.

Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor, second in London, Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay, runners-up in Boston, and Mohamed Esa of Ethiopia, who was second in Tokyo, are all on 16 while Tamirat Tola (third in London) and Tsegaye Getachew (third-placed in Tokyo), both from Ethiopia as well as Kenya’s Benson Kipruto (bronze winner in Boston) have nine a piece.

The women’s side has Ethiopians Alemu Magertu (second in London), Tokyo runners-up Tsehay Gemechu and Amane Beriso, who was second in Boston, all on 16 points, while compatriots Ashete Bekere, third place in Tokyo, has nine points.

With Berlin, Chicago and New York still to come in addition to the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in August, there are still a lot more points to fight for and there could even be new entrants by the end of the season.

The big miss on the list is 2022 winner Eliud Kipchoge who had hoped to win Boston and get his name on the rankings early in the season. He, however, finished sixth will now have to play catch up, hoping to outdo the current leaders later in the campaign.

Chebet, Kiptum, Wanjiru and Obiri have not announced which races they will run next but each will likely feature in at least one more, where victory will take them closer to the title.

The World Marathon Majors has been dominated by Kenya runners over the years, Kipchoge winning it five times, all coming in the last six years, the late Samuel Wanjiru twice, while Albert Kori, Wilson Kipsang, Geoffrey Mutai, Emmanuel Korir and Martin Lel have each claimed it once.

Peres Jepchirchir and Joyciline Jepkosgei shared the 2021 prize, before Ethiopian Gotytom Gebreslase won last year’s trophy, while Mary Keitany and Edna Kiplagat have three apiece. Brigid Kosgei and Priscah Jeptoo are the other Kenyan women to have claimed the lucrative prize.