The largest prize a marathon runner can win is on the line Sunday at the New York City Marathon. Kenyan Wilson Kipsang is the only athlete who still has a chance to overtake compatriot Dennis Kimetto in the standings for the $500,000 World Marathon Majors prize. Rita Jeptoo, also Kenyan, has already won the women’s event, sealing up the top spot with her recent win in Chicago.
Each World Marathon Majors cycle lasts two years, though one is started each new year, meaning two cycles overlap. The New York City Marathon will mark the end of the 2013/2014 series. Runners are scored based on how they placed at each of the world’s most prestigious marathons over the four marathon seasons. The races include Tokyo, London, Boston, Chicago and New York.
Kipsang, the former world record holder in the marathon, can overtake leader Kimetto with a win on Sunday, but a finish any lower isn’t enough and Kipsang will have a tough field of elites to race, including course record-holder and defending champion Geoffrey Mutai and defending world and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich. The previous two Boston champions, Meb Keflezighi and Lelisa Desisa will also be racing.
Rita Jeptoo has already scored 100 points, winning all four marathons she raced in the previous two years, the first athlete since the World Marathon Majors series was launched to do it.