Tag Archives: Abbott World Marathon Majors

CAPE TOWN MARATHON BECOMES ABBOTT WORLD MARATHON MAJORS

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has officially been confirmed as an Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) candidate race – the first marathon in Africa to be nominated.

The announcement marks the commencement of a multi-year evaluation process conducted by AbbottWMM.
In order to become a Major, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will be required to meet certain criteria for three years and if successful, will join an elite group of races – Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW-BERLIN Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon – as a new member of the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2025.

“We have always believed that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon could be Africa’s first Abbott World Marathon Major, so becoming a candidate race is a tremendous honour”, said Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Chairman, Francois Pienaar at the announcement event at Cape Town Stadium.

“It acknowledges the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon as a global event that has consistently delivered a top quality world-class race, and one that continuously innovates and creates world-first initiatives like the immersive audio experience during the 2020 virtual race.

“Becoming an Abbott World Marathon Major would be like hosting a world championship event every single year, and achieving this status would be a tremendous boost for the city, country and continent. Africa is home to the best marathon runners in the world and we hope they will get the opportunity to run an Abbott World Marathon Major on home turf in the coming years.”

Headline sponsor Sanlam is celebrating its eighth sponsorship year and is equally thrilled at the prospect of the event becoming a jewel in the AbbottWMM crown.
Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive of Sanlam Brand, says: “This is our eighth year as headline sponsor of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and we have always believed deeply in the vision for this race – to become Africa’s first Abbott World Marathon Major. Africa is our home, this is our race and we are absolutely committed to investing in the potential of this wonderful continent. Our purpose is to help people across Africa live with confidence and this race is the perfect way to foster the growth of Africa’s economy, and to showcase our people’s unparalleled potential.  Creating a lasting legacy for generations to come is a vision and dream we share with all our partners.

“And now we are celebrating coming a step closer. The collective confidence that the continent will garner from hosting an event of this stature will deliver value in many ways, enabling us to benefit economically and socially from a world-class event. We extend our sincerest congratulations to all of our partners who have worked tirelessly to elevate the event to this level. We have no doubt that in just three short years, we will tick all the boxes and have the honour of hosting the continent’s first major on home soil.”

Cape Town is a port city on the tip of South Africa’s southwest coast that is overlooked by the world-renowned Table Mountain, an official New7Wonder of Nature. It is consistently rated as one of the world’s most beautiful cities and most popular tourist destinations – renowned for its exquisite natural beauty, sweeping vistas, beaches, family friendly activities and some of the best restaurants in the world.

Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato said that this candidacy means a lot for Cape Town, South Africa and Africa, and will further solidify the Mother City’s reputation as a sports capital. “We are proud to be the host of SA and Africa’s first Abbott World Marathon Majors Candidate and wholeheartedly support the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in the coming years.

“We know that these evaluation years will already offer a tremendous economic boost for Cape Town and its residents, and expect an annual influx of approximately 10,000 international athletes and their supporters in the coming years – especially once the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon earns Abbott World Marathon Major status. We can’t wait to welcome more recreational and elite marathoners to Cape Town; it’s time to show the world how we run a marathon to the African beat.”

Pienaar noted that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon already meets many of the requirements set by the Abbott World Marathon Majors, and that continued enhancements will be made to the race. This also includes a new strategic partnership with Infront, the media and marketing specialists who will join the event on this exciting journey, noted Pienaar. “We are pulling out all the stops to achieve these goals, and are excited to receive the support from our runners, spectators, sponsors and the City to make this dream a reality.”

Hans-Peter Zurbruegg, Senior Vice President Personal & Corporate Fitness at Infront, said: “We are happy to become a shareholder of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and we fully buy into the ambition to reach AbbottWMM status by 2025. This is exciting news for the city of Cape Town, South Africa and Africa. Our direct involvement forms part of our growing ambition to further enter the African market and will both strengthen our relationship with the AbbottWMM as well as support future business opportunities.”

Added James Moloi, President of Athletics South Africa: “This is an important step in the history of road-running in the country and Africa as a whole. It will be a significant recognition which would elevate the race to another prestigious level.”

Tim Hadzima, Executive Director, Abbott World Marathon Majors said, “The Abbott World Marathon Majors are delighted to welcome the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon into the candidate process from 2022. This presents an exciting opportunity to expand our impact into Africa and further our mission to create, grow and support opportunities for all to discover the power of the marathon community. We look forward to working closely with the team in Cape Town as we start this journey together!”

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has been growing in popularity for the better part of the last decade, with its route offering spectacular ocean scenery and mountain views, while passing many of the City’s great attractions from its famous street art to its iconic historical features – including City Hall, where Nelson Mandela delivered his first public speech as a free man in 1990.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was awarded the prestigious World Athletics Gold Label Status for the fourth consecutive year in 2020 – the only marathon on the African continent and one of only a select group of marathons in the world to have this status.

In addition to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, China’s Chengdu Marathon is also currently an AbbottWMM candidate race. The Singapore Marathon recently dropped out of the process.

The 2021 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is scheduled to take place on 17 October 2021. Entries are open at www.capetownmarathon.com.

Keitany to defend her title at New York Mini 10km race

Kenya’s Mary Keitany will be seeking to defend her title at the 47th edition of the New York 10km Race that will be held on June 9, in New York, United States.

The 36 year-old finished a disappointing fifth in London Marathon in a time of  2:24.27 after leading for the better part of the race as compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot zoomed past to clinch the title.

Keitany, who is a three-time New York City Marathon champion and the two times (2015and 2017) New York Mini 10K, will be targeting for a third title and also try to lower the course record of 30:28.06 that was set in 2002 by Paula Radcliff of Great Britain.

She is a two-time winner of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and has won the series titles (2012 and 2016) and a three-time London Marathon winner and hold of the women’s-only world marathon record of 2:17.0, which she set in 2017 in the British capital.

“The New York Mini 10K is a very special race for me, not only because I have been able to win it twice, but because it is so special to see so many women of all ages and abilities running together,” Keitany said. “I hope that I am able to inspire them as much as they inspire me.”

Keitany is expected to face stiff competition from American and former champion Molly Huddle, who is a three-time winner of the NYC Half Marathon.

She finished in third place in her marathon debut at the 2016 New York City Marathon. Earlier that year, she won the 5000 and 10,000m races at the U.S. Olympic Trials – becoming the first woman in history to win the double – and finished sixth in the 10,000m at the Rio Olympics, setting a new American record of 30:13.17. Her win at the 2014 New York Mini 10K made her the first American to win the title in a decade, and her time of 31:37 set an American record for a women’s-only race.

king Kipchoge: ‘This treble tops everything,’

Eliud Kipchoge described his third Virgin Money London Marathon victory on Sunday as the greatest achievement of his glittering career as he looked back on a day when he was crowned king of the roads and sealed a third Abbott World Marathon Majors title.

Kipchoge’s majestic performance at the head of one of the greatest elite fields in men’s marathon history was his ninth consecutive win and the 10th in his five-year-old marathon career.

Two of those have come at the prestigious Berlin Marathon and one in Chicago, while two years ago he won what many regard as the greatest prize of all when he claimed an Olympic marathon gold at the Rio Games.

But Kipchoge said today that becoming only the third man to clinch a London Marathon treble was his crowning moment.

“This tops everything,” said Kipchoge. “Winning a third time in London and with a third Majors title at the same time is right at the top.

“It was a really big win for me because it was a tough race. I tried hard to concentrate on the distance and my own running and wait for the last few miles.”

Kipchoge’s performance was a mesmerising one as he ran at the head of the field for the entire 26.2 miles, barely changing his stride or veering from his course except to pick up his drinks bottles, his eyes set unerringly on the road ahead.

He passed halfway in a record 61 minutes flat – a target set, he revealed today, at his request – and maintained an unrelenting rhythm towards the Finish Line as one-by-one his opponents fell away.

By the time they reached Canary Wharf there were only two men left – the young Ethiopian, Tola Shura Kitata, and Britain’s big hope, Sir Mo Farah, who appeared at Kipchoge’s shoulder at 30km only to see the master move away with apparent ease.

Kitata stuck to his heels for another five miles until Kipchoge shrugged him off too as they dipped into the welcome shade under Blackfriars Bridge. Not that Kipchoge paid either of them much attention.

“If you want to run fast you have to run in front,” he said. “I didn’t sense Mo there but I saw him. But I was ready to do what was in my mind.

“I wasn’t running against anybody, I was running as Eliud. My mind was fully concentrated on the distance. It was tough in the middle of the race so I needed to concentrate on finishing the race.”

As for going out at such a blistering pace on a baking day, for Kipchoge it was all just part of the plan.

“I knew we couldn’t go that fast for the whole distance,” he said. “I wasn’t worried because I knew I would be OK.

“My aim was to run a beautiful race. I didn’t aim for the world record. I knew when coming here I was going to run a beautiful race.”

Cheruiyot’s win was also a thing of beauty, albeit one of contrasting style, as she ran a perfectly judged and evenly paced race that eventually paid dividends when her world record-chasing rivals, Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba, hit the wall.

Cheruiyot, who was fourth on her marathon debut in London last year, clinched the biggest win yet in her short marathon career when she crossed the line in 2:18:31, five minutes quicker than she’s ever run before.

“I learned from last year to be more patient,” said Cheruiyot. “I went too fast last time and was totally kaput at the end.

“This year I saw Mary and Tirunesh were going for the world record but I wanted to run a race I was comfortable with.

“Yesterday I was thinking about running 2:20, so in my mind I was saying if I run 69 seconds at halfway, maybe the second will be 70. And then I found I was chasing someone.”

In fact, Cheruiyot passed the half-way mark in fourth place in 68:56, a full minute and 40 seconds adrift of the leading pair, but stuck to her guns as she closed the gap and reeled them in.

She finally moved into the lead with just three miles left, passing Keitany without a glance as she raced on to clinch her first Abbott World Marathon Majors victory and become the fourth quickest woman ever over the classic distance.

“I’m done with track now,” said Cheruiyot. “My legs were painful last night, but I’m feeling better now.”

As for Kipchoge’s future, he said: “My plan ended yesterday in London. For now, I’m blank. It’s my coach’s problem.

“Marathon is life,” he added. “And as long as I’m enjoying life, I’m enjoying the marathon.”

Stage set for Abbott World Marathon Majors Series finale

There is plenty to play for as we reach the conclusion of Series XI of the Abbott World Marathon Majors at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for many of the world’s greatest marathon athletes, and after six races we are still unclear as to who will scoop the $250,000 top prize on 22 April.

The Series got underway in spectacular style in the English capital as Mary Keitany scorched her way to a women’s only world record of 2:17:01, beating Paula Radcliffe’s mark of 2:17:42 set in 2005.

Daniel Wanjiru made it a Kenyan double in the open division with his win in the men’s race and there was home crowd delight as David Weir took his seventh London wheelchair title, beating Marcel Hug in a hard-fought sprint along The Mall. Manuela Schär claimed the women’s crown to begin a dominant Series for the Swiss racer.

The open Series made a quick return to London in the summer, as it encompassed the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, where Geoffrey Kiriu of Kenya maintained the form he had shown to win the 2017 Boston Marathon to take the gold and 25 points on offer in the Abbott WMM competition. Rose Chelimo of Bahrain was the women’s champion, beating the veteran Edna Kiplagat into second place as she crossed the finish line on Tower Bridge.

The Series then recommenced in the rain of Berlin where the stage had been set for a tussle between three of the best men in marathon history as Series IX and X champion Eluid Kipchoge faced off against Series VII king Wilson Kipsang and Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele, who had finished second in London in the spring.

The contest provided the perfect stage for the world record to tumble, but Bekele and Kipsang could not last the distance in the German capital and dropped out to leave Kipchoge in a shoot-out with surprise package Guye Adola. The Kenyan legend won the battle of wits and eased to his first win of the Series.

Gladys Cherono took the women’s title with a 22-second margin over Ethiopian Ruti Aga, and there was a second win of the women’s wheelchair Series for Schär, who was matched by her compatriot Hug in the men’s race.

Schär would not get it all her own way in the next stop for the Series at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, as a resurgent Tatyana McFadden edged a sprint finish with training partner Amanda McGrory, the Swiss star just two seconds behind them. No such problems for Hug who was crowned Chicago champion for the second time with a sprint victory over Australia’s Kurt Fearnley.

In the open division, Tirunesh Dibaba claimed her maiden Abbott WMM race win to add to her second in London, while the USA was able to celebrate its first male winner in Chicago since 2002 when Galen Rupp, former training partner to Mo Farah, ran away from the pack with three miles to go to take the tape and fire himself into Series contention.

The American fairytale was to continue on the damp streets of New York City, but this time in the women’s division. In a race dominated in recent years by Keitany, the Kenyan was beaten by Shalane Flanagan in a memorable run that saw the Boston-born athlete punching the air with delight as she romped home through Central Park.

There was a Kenyan one-two in the men’s race, with Geoffrey Kamworor just about holding off the late-charging Wilson Kipsang to win his first Abbott WMM race.

Manuela Schär returned to the top of the podium in the women’s wheelchair race, turning the tables on McFadden and matching Hug who claimed the men’s wheelchair race.

Kipsang was the firm favourite to finally claim a win in this Series in Tokyo when the show rolled into the Japanese capital in February.

But the 36-year-old succumbed to an illness picked up prior to the race and stepped off the road just 17km into proceedings. Kipsang’s withdrawal opened the door for his compatriot Dickson Chumba to run away from the field and claim a second Tokyo title.

The roars were arguably louder for the man who followed him home, however, as Yuta Shitara smashed the Japanese national record and Asian record, having carved his way from fifth to second in the late stages. Birhane Dibaba also scooped her second Tokyo victory in the women’s race.

There was more home joy in the men’s wheelchair tussle as 51-year-old Hiroyuki Yamamoto made a daring early break stick. With just Tomoki Suzuki for company, Yamamoto rounded the final bend on one wheel before out-muscling his younger compatriot for a famous victory. 

Manuela Schär again proved head and shoulders above her competition with her fourth win in five Series races to establish an unassailable lead, McFadden coming home over a minute behind her rival.

And so as we head for Boston and – just six days later ¬– close the Series in London, the wheelchair spoils are largely decided with Schär and Hug both uncatchable.

But there is the potential for drama aplenty in both open divisions.

Flanagan can take a commanding position in the fight for the Series XI title if she can claim victory in Boston on 16 April.

The American scored 25 points with her win at the TCS New York City Marathon, and can move to 50 with a second triumph of the campaign.

A first place for Flanagan would deny a third Series crown for Keitany when she mounts the defence of her London title.

The Kenyan is now hunting Paula Radcliffe’s male pacemaker-assisted time of 02:15:25 in London. But Keitany’s defeat to Flanagan in Central Park last November means the Marblehead native has a better head-to-head record than the two-time Series champion.

With only the top two results counting for open division athletes, that win for Flanagan on the streets of New York City means if both women end up with two wins apiece, we will have the first American women’s champion in the history of the Series.

But Flanagan, who missed last year’s Boston Marathon with a stress fracture in her back, will have her work cut out if she is to make it to that Boylston Street Finish Line ahead of the pack.

Alongside a formidable-looking American field, defending champion Edna Kiplagat will be desperate to repeat her success of 2017. The veteran Kenyan can take a share of the lead on 41 points if she can claim the spoils on Patriots Day.

World champion Chelimo, Berlin winner Cherono and Chicago champ Dibaba are all due to be on the start line in London, too and will all still have a shot at the title.

On the men’s side, Geoffrey Kirui, who is also seeking to retain his status as Boston champion after rounding off Series X with a win there, can move to 50 points with victory after being crowned world champion last summer in London. 

The same goes for Rupp who can also make it two wins from two appearances.

A win for either will leave it down to one of Kipchoge or Wanjiru to match them in London. In that scenario, there will have been no head to head between the only two men on 50 points, forcing a vote by the six race directors to find the men’s Series XI winner. Should neither Kipchoge or Wanjiru secure first or second place 22 April, and Rupp and Kirui both miss out in Boston, the door is open for the likes of Bekele and Adola to sneak into first place. Calculators at the ready.

Source: virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

Wanjiru to defend London Marathon against Bekele, Kipchoge and Farah

Daniel Wanjiru will face a daunting task when he defends his London Marathon title against three of the greatest distance runners of their generation on Sunday 22 April.

Wanjiru was a surprise winner of the 2017 men’s race when he held off the challenge of Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele to clinch his first Abbott World Marathon Majors victory and succeed Olympic gold medallist Eliud Kipchoge as London Marathon champion.

At just 24, Wanjiru had only three marathons behind him and just one victory – although that was a spectacular triumph, coming at the Amsterdam Marathon in October 2016 when he took almost three minutes from his personal best to beat a field of far more experienced runners.

In London, he proved that performance was no fluke when he made a break just before the 21-mile mark and battled hard over the final five miles to beat the fast-finishing Bekele who had fallen behind after suffering with blisters caused by ill-fitting shoes. “I am the happiest man in the world,” said the Kenyan afterwards.

Both Bekele and Kipchoge, the second and third fastest men in history over 26.2 miles, will be back on the London start line in 2018 alongside Britain’s multiple world and Olympic track champion, Mo Farah, who became the second fastest British marathon runner on his debut four years ago and defeated Wanjiru in the Vitality Big Half in London last month.

Bekele and Kipchoge will start as the two fastest in the field, heading a line-up that contains four who have run the distance under 2 hours 4 minutes and eight who have finished quicker than 2:06. Among them are five World Marathon Majors winners and two former world champions.

Kipchoge returns to London looking to make it a hat-trick of wins in the British capital after skipping last year’s race for a stab at breaking the two-hour barrier. The Kenyan superstar triumphed in 2015 and was an agonising eight seconds away from the current world record of 2:02:57 when he won again a year later.

“The Virgin Money London Marathon is a race that holds very special memories for me,” said the 33-year-old who became the fastest marathon runner in history when he clocked 2:00:25 in an unratified race in Monza, Italy, last May.

“I won it in 2015 and 2016 and both are days I will never forget. I came close to breaking the world record in 2016 and it is natural for anyone in that situation to think what might have been. But that race gave me the confidence to go on and win the Olympic title in Rio and run so well throughout 2017.”

Kipchoge was again close to the world record in Berlin last September when he finished in 2:03:32, just 35 seconds off the mark set by his countryman Dennis Kimetto in 2014.

“I feel like I’m in good form,” said Kipchoge. “Berlin was difficult because the weather was not good but my time showed I was in the right shape. I know I have the world record in me so we will have to wait and see what happens.”

With his best of 2:03:03, Bekele is the second quickest man in history and the fastest in the London field. After finishing third on his London debut in 2015, the 35-year-old placed second last year when he came agonisingly close to catching Wanjiru in the closing stages.

He is joined by compatriot Guye Adola who ran the fastest debut in history when runner-up behind Kipchoge in Berlin last September. Having led the race until the final few miles, the 27-year-old became the seventh quickest marathoner of all time when he crossed the line in 2:03:46, just 14 seconds after the winner.

The Kenyan challenge is boosted by Stanley Biwott, a former New York Marathon champion who was runner-up behind Kipchoge in London two years ago, and the experienced Abel Kirui, a two-time world champion who won the Chicago Marathon in 2016 and was second there last October.

Also in the field is Bedan Karoki who clinched third on his debut last year and ran the fourth fastest half marathon in history in the United Arab Emirates this February.

Former world and New York champion, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, is one of three talented Eritreans in the line-up, while Farah heads a select British cast that includes Rio Olympian Tsegai Tewelde and the fast-improving Jonny Mellor.

While that pair will train their sights on selection for the European Championships, Farah is focused on a bigger prize – breaking Steve Jones’ long-held British record of 2:07:13 and perhaps cracking the European record of 2:05:48, a time that could well put him on the London Marathon podium.

Source: virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

First Edition of Rock ‘n’ Roll Luoping Half Marathon to take place on March 10 in China

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series® will host it’s first 2018 event in China with the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Luoping Half Marathon taking place on March 10 in Luoping, Yunnan province. Registration remains open for the new event which consists of a half marathon, a 12 km happy run and a 5 km family run.

“Luoping is truly a unique destination for a Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon race and is sure to give runners an unforgettable experience,” said Stacey Campbell, Vice President of Global Events. “We are delighted to kick off the 2018 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon China Series with this brand-new event as we continue the expansion of our events globally.”

Luoping, located in southwestern China Yunnan province, is known as the Eastern Garden for the sea of splendid canola flowers that bloom each spring. The 2018 Rock ‘n’ Roll Luoping Half Marathon will coincide with the 20th Luoping International Canola Flower Cultural Tourism Festival. Runners will run in the field of canola blossoms which cover more than 530 square kilometers.

Heaven Band and Mayuan Poet will headline the music portion of the event, bringing fun to the run along with additional bands and DJs performing at the main stage and at music stations along the course.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Luoping Half Marathon will also provide special finisher medals for participants which combine local culture and Rock ‘n’ Roll elements into the unique design. Participants will also have the opportunity to earn entries into Abbott World Marathon Majors events including the 2018 Chicago Marathon, 2018 Berlin Marathon, 2018 London Marathon and 2018 Boston Marathon.

General registration for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Luoping Half Marathon is still open and can be accessed at RunRocknRoll.com. Athlete inquiries may be directed to Luoping@RunRocknRoll.com.

For more information on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, please visit RunRocknRoll.com or follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter. Media may contact Press@RunRocknRoll.com.

About Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series® is the world’s largest running series with more than 600,000 runners taking part in over 30 destination events around the world every year. Established in 1998, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series’ simple idea of making running fun has transformed both the U.S. and global running landscape by infusing the course with live bands, cheer teams and entertaining water stations, creating a block-party atmosphere for participants and spectators alike.

Race weekend kicks off with a free Health & Fitness Expo showcasing the latest in running gear, sports apparel, health and nutritional information and much more. Events culminate with an entertaining finish-line festival and Toyota Concert Series Headliner featuring some of the biggest names in music, with past performances including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Aloe Blacc, Pitbull, FloRida, the Goo Goo Dolls and Bret Michaels.

Further information about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series can be found online at RunRocknRoll.com and follow @RunRocknRoll on all social platforms.