Fall Marathon Preview

By Jörg Wenig
With a victory in Berlin Sunday, Irina Mikitenko stands a chance to win the World Marathon Majors Series. © www.photorun.net
With a victory in Berlin Sunday, Irina Mikitenko stands a chance to win the World Marathon Majors Series. © www.photorun.net

The 35th real-Berlin Marathon this Sunday marks the start of the fall marathon season—a season filled with many decisive races that will determine who will win the World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series.

One of the favorites competing in the Berlin Marathon is German runner, Irina Mikitenko. If she manages to win, Mikitenko will add another 25 points to her tally for the 2007-2008 WMM series. This would make her tied for the lead at 65 points with Gete Wami. The Ethiopian was the winner of the first WMM series last year—sharing a $1 million purse with the men’s champion, Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot. Wami will have to place at least second in the ING New York City Marathon to increase her WMM points total, because she has already scored the maximum points in her previous four races.

Besides Mikitenko and Wami, two other women are in contention for the prize: Chunxiu Zhou of China and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya. Either could take the lead with a victory in Chicago or New York. Both women ran well in the recent Olympic Marathon where they took bronze and silver medals respectively.

If the women’s series were to end with Mikitenko and Wami tied, the next deciding factor would be the win-loss ratio. However, this result would also be a tie, since Wami finished ahead of Mikitenko in Berlin a year ago, but it was the other way round in London.

It just might come down to a vote by the race directors to decide the winner!

Other fall marathons that are part of the World Marathon Majors Series (WMM) include the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the ING New York City Marathon.

The men’s leader in the current WMM Series is the Kenyan, Martin Lel, with 76 points. Lel has twice won in London as well as in New York and was fifth in the Summer Olympics. Only his teammate, Robert Cheruiyot, stands a chance of defeating him. Cheruiyot has earned 55 points in three races: two victories in Boston and a fourth-place finish in Chicago. He would need to win in Chicago or New York to score more total points than Lel.

Besides the World Marathon Majors, there are several other noteworthy fall marathons: the Amsterdam Marathon and the Tokyo and Fukuoka marathons in Japan offer high-class, elite fields. In the United States , the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/St. Paul on October 5th is extremely popular for serious runners attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It has been dubbed the “most beautiful urban marathon in America” and hosts over 11,000 runners.


World Marathon Majors Series Races

12 OctoberChicago
2 NovemberNew York
28 SeptemberBerlin

Other Fall Marathons

19 OctoberBeijing
19 OctoberAmsterdam
26 OctoberFrankfurt
9 NovemberAthens
16 NovemberTokyo (Women’s elite race only)
7 DecemberFukuoka (Men’s elite race only)



Participants: 45,000
First Place : $125,000
Total Prize Money (without time bonuses): $579,000

Course Records:
2:05:42 – Khalid Khannouchi (MAR)
2:17:18 – Paula Radcliffe (GBR)

Leading Athletes and their personal bests (subject to change):

William Kipsang (KEN/2: 05:49)
Emmanuel Mutai (KEN/2:06:15)
Richard Limo (KEN/2:06:45)
Moses Arusei (KEN/2:06:50)
Salim Kipsang (KEN/2:07:29)
Christopher Cheboiboch (KEN/2:08:17)
Timothy Cherigat (KEN/2: 09:34)
James Getanda (KEN/2: 11:50)

Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROM/2: 21:30)
Bezunesh Bekele (ETH/2: 23:09)
Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS/2:25:10)
Alevtina Biktimirova (RUS/2:25:12)
Worknesh Tola (ETH/2:25:37)
Kiyoko Shimahara (JPN/2:26:14)
Colleen De Reuck (USA/2:26:35)
Adriana Pirtea (ROM/2:28:52)
Zoila Gomez (USA/2:33:53)
Kate O’Neill (USA/2:36:15)


Participants: approximately 45,000
First Place: provisionally $130,000
Total Prize Money (without time bonuses): over $600,000

Course Records:
2:07:43 – Tesfaye Jifar (ETH)
2:21:43 – Margaret Okayo (KEN)

Leading Athletes and their Personal Bests (subject to change):

Hosea Rotich (KEN/2:07:24)
Wilfred Kigen (KEN/2:07:33)
Adam Goucher (USA/Debut)
Jorge Torres (USA/Debut)

Gete Wami (ETH/2:21:34)
Katie McGregor (USA/2:32:36)
Kara Goucher (USA/Debut)
Kim Smith (NZL/Debut)


Participants: 40,000
First Place : $65,000
Total Prize Money (without time bonuses): $350,000

Course Records:
2:04:26 – Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) WR
2:19:12 – Mizuki Noguchi (JPN)

Leading Athletes and their Personal Bests:

Haile Gebrselassie (ETH/2:04:26)
Charles Kamathi (KEN/2:07:33)
Gudisa Shentema (ETH/2:07:34)
Toshinari Suwa (JPN/2:07:55)
Joseph Ngolepus (KEN/2:07:57)
Francis Kiprop (KEN/2:08:30)
Luis Jesus (POR/2:08:55)
Mesfin Ademasu (ETH/2:09:49)
James Kwambai (KEN/2:10:20)
Andrew Limo (KEN/2:11:47)
Josphat Keiyo (KEN/2:12:19)
Falk Cierpinski (SG Spergau/2:15:48)
Stefan Koch (TV Wattenscheid/2:17:17)

Askale Tafa (ETH/2: 23:23)
Irina Mikitenko (TV Wattenscheid/2:24:14)
Rose Cheruiyot (KEN/2:25:48)
Helena Kiprop (KEN/2:26:27)
Gulnara Vygovskaya (RUS/2:28:22)
Ayumi Nakayama (JPN/2:28:50)
Mary Ptikany (KEN/2:29:45)
Tsege Worku (ETH/2:33:25)
Edyta Lewandoswka (POL/2:34:18)


Participants: provisionally 7,500
Prize Money still to be announced

Course Records:
2:06:20 – Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)
2:22:20 – Gete Wami (ETH)

Leading Athletes and their Personal Bests (subject to change):

Robert Cheboror (KEN/2:06:23)
Paul Kirui (KEN/2:06:44)
Solomon Bushendich (KEN/2:08:52)
Benjamin Limo (KEN/Debut)

Women: still to be announced


Participants: provisionally 12,500
First Place : $21,500
Total Prize Money (without time bonuses): $135,000

Course Records:
2:07:58 – Wilfred Kigen (KEN)
2:25:12 – Alevtina Biktimirova (RUS)

Leading Athletes and their Personal Bests (subject to change):

William Kiplagat (KEN/2:06:50)
Benjamin Maiyo (KEN/2:07:09)
Benson Barus (KEN/2:08:34)
Sammy Kurgat (KEN/2:08:38)
Stephen Kiogora (KEN/2:09:21)
André Pollmächer (LAC Chemnitz/Debut)

Claudia Dreher (LG Ihleläufer Burg/2:27:55)
Melanie Kraus (Bayer Leverkusen/2:27:58)
Kirsten Otterbu (NOR/2:29:12)
Sabrina Mockenhaupt (Kölner Verein für Marathon/2:29:33)
Oleysa Nurgalyeva (RUS/2:29:35)
Yelena Nurgalyeva (RUS/2:29:49)