The Series XI of the Abbott World Marathon Majors concluded in dramatic fashion on Sunday with a double win for Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Mary Keitany at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.
In the elite men’s series, Eliud Kipchoge destroyed the best men’s field ever assembled to take his third consecutive AWMM title, while his compatriot Mary Keitany destroyed herself in her bid to break the mixed-race women’s world record, failing in that quest but picking up the AWMM win as a consolation.
Series XI kicked off at last year’s London Marathon with a new one-year format featuring a rotating start and finish for each of the six annual series races.
The Series XI of the Abbott World Marathon Majors consisted of: 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon; 2017 IAAF World Championship Marathon; 2017 BMW Berlin Marathon; 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon; 2017 TCS New York City Marathon; 2018 Tokyo Marathon; 2018 Boston Marathon; and 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.
A new prize structure was also introduced for Series XI, with prize money awarded to the top three men and women in both the open and wheelchair series, rather than just individual winner.
The Series XI champions receive US$250,00 each with US$50,000 going to second and $25,000 to third, while the top wheelchair racers will get $50,000 each, with $25,000 and $10,000 going to second and third respectively.
Kipchoge claimed his Series XI crown in stunning style, taking 25 points for his London win yesterday to add to the 25 he earned for his Berlin Marathon victory last year.
His countryman Geoffrey Kirui was runner-up on 41 points, while 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi finished third on 25 points, tied with three other athletes but given the nod by the AWWM Race Directors for his gutsy performance in the atrocious conditions in Boston last week.
After the disappointment of coming fifth in yesterday’s London Marathon, Keitany also took her third Abbott World Marathon Majors title thanks to the 25 points she earned in London last year and her second place in New York last November.
Ethiopian track legend Tirunesh Dibaba also finished on 41 points but lost out as she’d been beaten by Keitany when the two women went head-to-head at last year’s London Marathon. Brigid Kosgei finished third on 32 points after another vote by the six Race Directors.
In the wheelchair competitions, Marcel Hug and Mauela Schär took the honours for Switzerland. Hug was well beaten by Great Britain’s David Weir yesterday but his four recent wins at Boston, New York City, Chicago and Berlin earned him the maximum 100 points.
Weir’s wins in London at the start and finish of Series XI earned him 50 points and the runner-up spot, while South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk finished third on 33 points.
Schär also suffered disappointment in London yesterday but she’d already done enough, thanks to wins in London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City in 2017 and at the Tokyo Marathon in 2018 to claim the crown with a maximum 100 points.
Kipchoge also praised the AWMM set-up, saying: “Abbott World Marathon Majors has done a good job by dividing the prize money so three athletes can win, and by supporting charity projects all over the world.”
Keitany was in a philosophical mood, happy to win her third AWMM title but subdued after her failure to break the mixed-race world record at yesterday’s race.
“Yesterday’s London Marathon was the toughest I’ve ever run. Some days don’t turn out as you expect them to, and yesterday was one of those days. It was tough, but I’m still a champion, and there is always tomorrow,” she said.
“I’m happy I crossed the Finish Line yesterday. I was very tired but I’m still happy that I finished, and I’m also happy that I’ve claimed victory in Series XI today.”
Kipchoge had the last word, when asked which race he’d target next: “My plans ended yesterday!”
That may be Kipchoge’s line today, but all four champions will be back to defend their crowns when Series XII of the Abbott World Marathon Majors kicks off with the Berlin Marathon on Sunday 16 September.
Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI Results
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