Marathon jackpot unveiled
A new era in marathon running dawns in Boston on April 17 with a two-year series involving the five big city marathons and culminating in New York next year plus the marathons at next year's Osaka world championships. One million dollars will be split bet
A jackpot of one million dollars will be shared between the man and woman who gather most points from the Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York events as well as in Osaka.
"Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon, the U.S. and French Opens are to tennis and the Masters, U.S. British Open and PGA championship are to golf," New York City race director Mary Wittenberg said in a statement on Monday.
"Each race has the history, the tradition, the honour roll of legendary champions and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events."
The first five runners in each race will earn points with a maximum 25 for first place. Athletes must run at least three of the six races, including one in each year, with a maximum four counting for points to qualify for the prize money.
The prize money will be awarded annually after next year based on results over the previous two years, which in 2008 will include the Beijing Olympics races.
He said the series could be expanded to include other big city mass participation races.
"We will be happy to have other people join us provided they have the right stature," he said. "We are willing, ready and able to welcome new people."
TERGAT AND RACLIFFE PLEASED
Bedford said the race directors were seeking a sponsor in order to double the prize money to a million dollars for both winners. He said there were no plans at present to award money to the second and third-placed athletes.
Kenya's world men's record holder Paul Tergat welcomed the series which he said was suited to the particular demands of marathon runners.
Britain's world women's champion and record holder Paula Radcliffe, who has won the Chicago, New York and London events, said she was excited by the series.
"It's a big step forward for the sport," Radcliffe told reporters.