Vote denies Hellen Obiri Ksh7.5m World Marathon Majors prize

© Imago.

ATHLETICS Vote denies Hellen Obiri Ksh7.5m World Marathon Majors prize

Joel Omotto 15:00 - 08.11.2023

Hellen Obiri would have pocketed an extra Ksh7.5 million after finishing joint top at the World Marathon Majors leaderboard but had to walk home with the consolation prize instead

Hellen Obiri would have banked an additional Ksh7.5m from her impressive 2023 season had it not have been for a vote that swayed the tide in favour of Sifan Hassan.

Obiri and Hassan were the two women competing for the women’s World Marathon Majors prize with the Dutchwoman top of the standings with 50 points before Sunday’s New York marathon.

Hassan, with wins in London and Chicago, could only be caught by Kenyan Obiri, who needed to win in New York to add to her Boston victory and tie with the Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman at the top of the leaderboard.

Obiri duly obliged, showing a strong finishing kick to edge out Letesenbet Gidey in New York to win the race in 2:27:23, adding it onto her Boston Marathon victory in April when she clocked a personal best 2:21:38.

With both runners tied on 50 points, the six race directors of the Abbott World Marathon Majors had to each vote for their choice to be the 2023 women’s series champion. The vote went the way of Hassan, who set the second fastest time in history of 2:13:44 when she won in Chicago and so was the $50,000 (Ksh7,575,000) prize.

Obiri had to settle for second place on the rankings which came with a $25,000 (Ksh3,787,500) prize.

There was no such headache in the men’s category, however, as world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum claimed the top prize of $50,000 (Ksh7,575,000) after his wins in London and Chicago marathons saw him accumulate 50 points.

Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola was second on 41 points to collect $25,000 while Kenya’s Benson Kipruto, Eliud Kipchoge and Albert Korir went home with $12,500 (Ksh1,893,750), $7,500 (Ksh1,136,250 ) and $5,000 (Ksh757,500) for finishing third, fourth and fifth respectively.

It was not a great season for Kipchoge, a multiple winner of the award, as he finished fifth in Boston before winning in Berlin in September.

“We are thrilled to see the series end in such spectacular fashion in New York City, and to have four such incredible series champions to celebrate,” said World Marathon Majors CEO Dawna Stone.

“Series XV has been one for the history books, with three new world records set across the divisions and a host of course and regional records falling as well.

“Our six races continue to raise the bar of elite performance in the marathon, and we congratulate Sifan, Catherine (Debrunner), Kelvin and Marcel (Hug) on their fantastic achievements in this series.”

The World Marathon Majors prize is reserved for runners who perform exemplarily in the six major marathons; Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York where they accumulate points and whoever has more at the end of the season is awarded the prize.

Follow Pulse Sports WhatsApp channel for more news.