Saturday, 12 April 2008
With a successful year in 2007, Kenyan marathoners start the 2008 World Marathon series in earnest with the first of major marathons in London this Sunday. The Flora London Marathon is among the events which include the Boston Marathon, real,-Berlin Marathon, The Bank of America Chicago Marathon and ING New York City Marathon ( note the branded names for each of the races !).
This weekend, the Kenyan marathoners will hopefully restore the lost pride from the Cross-country held in Scotland 2 weeks ago. Last year's event was won by Martin Lel who starts as favourite, but from the field of athletes, it can be anyone's race. Lel also heads the standings for the series with 50 points, as he leads 5 other Kenyans in the top 10. Other top Kenyan athletes to be expected include, Felix Limo, Samuel Wanjiru, Luke Kibet are expected to help keep the race title in Kenya. But they better watch for any Ethiopian , Moroccan or British runner.
Most of the athletics bodies will be represented there as they assess their country's runners to see who fits the bill for qualification for the Beijing Olympics. A week from now, they will move to Boston for the next marathon which features in the World Marathon Series.
Some Maasai warriors from Tanzania will run the London marathon to raise money to help access water for the village in Eluai,northern Tanzania. They said they will not be running for records but you can be sure they won't the course in more than 3 hours as most charity-based runners do. I'm reminded of some Samburu warriors who did a similar thing and have done since the year 2004 at the Nairobi StanChart Marathon. So runners don't freak out the runners by your side, they just be the warriors !
About World Marathon Majors: ( from www.worldmarathonmajors.com)
On January 23, 2006, Boston, Flora London, real,- BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and ING New York City marathons collectively launched the World Marathon Majors – a new series offering a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners in the world.
In creating the World Marathon Majors, the organizers of these five races recognized an opportunity to advance the sport, raise awareness of its athletes and increase the level of interest in elite racing among running enthusiasts.
Each of the five races that make up the World Marathon Majors boasts an international elite field for both men and women, has a mass participatory field completing the same course as the elites, takes place in a major international market, has a history of 25 years or more and is regarded among the very best in the industry. Collectively, the group annually attracts more than 5 million on-course spectators, more than 250 million television viewers, 300,000 applicants and 150,000 participants. It also raises more than $80 million for charity world wide and generates an economic impact of more than $400 million.
In addition to the five races, two other Qualifying Races were included in the series: the IAAF World Championships Marathon and the Olympic Marathon.The inaugural 2006-2007 series launched at the 110th running of the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2006 and concluded on November 4, 2007 at the ING New York City Marathon.
Martin Lel did a 3rd on the London streets and even set a new course record sprinting home ahead of compatriot Samuel Wanjiru. He did the marathon in 2hrs 5min 15 secs. This set him ahead of the World Marathon Series at least till the next marathon. Pending any injuries or mishaps he looks set to be among the Kenyan marathoners in the Beijing Olympics.