Wanjiru, Mikitenko Win London Marathon

Wanjiru, Mikitenko Win Flora London

Race champions extend lead on World
Marathon Majors 2008-09 leaderboard; Keflezighi, Ritzenhein set personal

From Jeremy Borling/Running USA

LONDON – (April 26, 2009) – Olympic gold medalist Sammy
of Kenya and Irina Mikitenko of Germany scored victories at
the 29th Flora London Marathon on Sunday to extend their leads in the
2008-09 World Marathon Majors (WMM) series. Wanjiru held off the other
podium winners from last summer’s Beijing Olympics, in establishing a course
record and a personal record time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 10 seconds. For
Mikitenko, her defending time of 2:22:11 was a comfortable 1:01 over runner-up
Mara Yamauchi of Great Britain.

The Flora London Marathon was the second of six races in the
WMM series. At the conclusion of the two-year series this fall, the male and
female point leaders will each be awarded $500,000. Wanjiru and Mikitenko now
have commanding 35 point leads on their respective leaderboards.

Wanjiru beat runner-up and Beijing bronze medalist Tsegay
of Ethiopia (2:05:20) by 10 seconds, while Olympic silver medalist
Jaouad Gharib of Morocco was third in 2:05:27. Both Kebede and Gharib
also set personal records on Sunday. Wanjiru led a group of men on world record
pace for much of the race.

Wanjiru, 22, had predicted he would break Haile
‘s world record of 2:03:59 and with near perfect conditions
across the British capital – light winds, hardly a cloud in the sky and
temperatures expected to rise no higher than 15C / 59 F degrees.

But crazy early speed dashed Wanjiru’s hopes as the leaders
sped through halfway in 61:35 after setting off inside two hour pace. They’d
been asked to take the leaders to 20 miles, but could never maintain such a high
tempo. For Wanjiru, though, by the end the win was enough.

“A course record is very good but in the end it was better to
win the race because of all the good runners around me,” said Wanjiru who earned
$155,000 and moved into seventh place on the all-time list ahead of last year’s
course record setter Martin Lel. Kebede also moved into the top 10, and
the times of the three medalists mean the average of London’s ten best times
make it the second fastest in the world, just two seconds on average slower than

In the women’s race, Mikitenko and Yamauchi separated
themselves early in the race from a chase back, but Mikitenko’s strength and
experience proved to be the deciding factors as she pulled away at the 1:50:00
mark into her race. Mikitenko, 36, became the first woman since Paula
in 2003 to retain her London Marathon title and won the third
marathon of her career to cement her place as the world’s #1.

“I was always confident that I had it in my legs, and after
20 miles, I saw no reason why I couldn’t win,” said the German record holder who
improved on her 2008 time by more than two minutes. “I felt once I pushed the
pace a little the others wouldn’t follow.”

Yamauchi gave the record home crowds much to cheer as she
surprised even herself by finishing second in 2:23:12, taking nearly two minutes
from her PR, while the European 5000m record holder Liliya Shobukhova
produced a debut run to remember, finishing third in 2:24:24.

The American trio – Olympians Meb Keflezighi, Dathan
and Kate O’Neill – finished 9th, 11th and 13th
respectively. Olympic silver medalist Keflezighi and Ritzenhein set PRs of
2:09:21 and 2:10:00, while O’Neill ran 2:34:48.

More than 35,000 competitors finished the 2009 London
Marathon, the last ever to be sponsored by Flora (next year, Virgin is the race
title sponsor).

The current year’s World Marathon Majors series will continue
this summer at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Berlin
in August. The fall season will kick off at the real,- Berlin Marathon on
September 20, followed by the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October
11, and the series finale at the ING New York City Marathon on November

For more WMM series information including complete standings,
go to: www.WorldMarathonMajors.com

29th Flora London

London, GBR, Sunday, April 26, 2009

1) Sammy Wanjiru (KEN), 2:05:10*, $155,000
Tsegay Kebede (ETH), 2:05:20, $105,000
3) Jaouad Gharib (MAR), 2:05:27,
4) Emmanuel Mutai (KEN), 2:06:53, $65,000
5) Hendrick Ramaala
(RSA), 2:07:44, $35,000
6) Abderrahim Goumri (MAR), 2:08:25, $22,500
Yonas Kifle (ERI), 2:08:28, $20,000
8) Atsushi Sato (JPN), 2:09:16,
9) Meb Keflezighi (USA / CA), 2:09:21, $8000
10) Felix Limo (KEN),
2:09:47, $5000
11) Dathan Ritzenhein (USA / OR), 2:10:00, $2500
Tessema Abshiro (ETH), 2:11:18, $1000
13) Andi Jones (GBR), 2:15:20
Marty Dent (AUS), 2:15:24
15) Rafal Wojcik (POL), 2:16:41
*course record
(previous record, 2:05:15, Martin Lel, 2008)

1) Irina Mikitenko (GER), 2:22:11, $80,000
Mara Yamauchi (GBR), 2:23:12, $45,000
3) Liliya Shobukova (RUS), 2:24:24,
4) Svetlana Zakharova (RUS), 2:25:06, $15,000
5) Berhane Adere
(ETH), 2:25:30, $12,500
6) Inga Abitova (RUS), 2:25:55, $10,000
Catherine Ndereba (KEN), 2:26:22, $6500
8) Tomo Morimoto (JPN), 2:26:29,
9) Gete Wami (ETH), 2:26:54, $4500
10) Lyudmila Petrova, 40, RUS,
2:27:42, $2000
11) Yuri Kano (JPN), 2:28:44
12) Zhou Chunxiu (CHN),
13) Kate O’Neill (USA / CA), 2:34:48
14) Mika Okunaga (JPN),
15) Michelle Ross Cope (GBR), 2:36:02

Full results at: www.London-Marathon.co.uk

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