London champions look to extend their WMM leads
Reigning World Marathon Majors champions Sammy Wanjiru and Irina Mikitenko will aim to extend their leads at the top of the men's and women's standings when they defend their London Marathon titles in the British capital on Sunday, 25 April.
With four races to go in the 2009/10 series Wanjiru heads the men's leaderboard with 50 points, 15 ahead of Ethiopia's Deriba Merga who moved into second place above USA's Meb Keflezighi when he finished third in the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Keflezighi gained a point by finishing fifth and now shares third place with Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot whose stunning victory in Boston saw him leap up the standings. The Kenyan is now equal with Keflezighi on 26 points.
London hopefuls Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia and Abel Kirui are merely a point behind in equal fifth, while Emmanuel Mutai and Jaouad Gharib are together on 20 points in equal eighth.
Already a double WMM champion, Mikitenko arrives in London with 40 points and a four-point lead in the women's standings over Kenya's Salina Kosgei who moved into second place after finishing third in Boston.
Boston winner Teyba Erkesso moved up to fourth on 30 points, five behind Liliya Shobukhova, the Chicago champion who will be looking to improve her position in London.
Other London hopefuls seeking points on Sunday include Ethiopia's Atsede Habtamu and China's world champion Bai Xue, who currently lie equal fifth on 25, while Britain's big hope Mara Yamauchi has 15 points from her second place in London last year and sits in eighth place alongside the 2009 New York runner-up Lyudmila Petrova and world championships silver medallist Yoshimi Ozaki.
Following the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 25 April, the season will continue with the real,- Berlin Marathon on Sunday 26 September and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday 10 October, and it concludes with the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday 7 November.
The top five men and women at the Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons, plus those at the IAAF World Championships and Olympic marathons, earn points in a two-year World Marathon Majors series. The men's and women's WMM champions each win US$500,000. The points available from each race are: 1st - 25; 2nd - 15; 3rd - 10; 4th - 5; 5th - 1.
The current 2009/10 standings are:
1. Samuel Wanjiru KEN 50 points
2. Derba Merga ETH 35 points
3. Meb Keflezighi USA 26 points
3. Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot KEN 26 points
5. Abel Kirui KEN 25 points
5. Haile Gebrselassie ETH 25 points
5. Tesgaye Kebede ETH 25 points
1. Irina Mikitenko GER 40 points
2. Salina Kosegi KEN 36 points
3. Liliya Shobukhova RUS 35 points
4. Teyba Erkesso ETH 30 points
5. Deratu Tulu ETH 25 points
5. Atsede Habtamu ETH 25 points
5. Bai Xue CHN 25 points
For more on the World Marathon Majors series go to www.worldmarathonmajors.com