London and Berlin Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and New York City Marathon champion Mary Keitany are the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series champions.
The Kenyans were declared champions after the Tokyo Marathon, the final race of the Series, on Sunday dawn.
Keitany, who was tied along with Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba and Kenya’s Helah Kiprop with 41 points, was selected as the champion in a vote by the leaders of the six Abbott WMM member races, in accordance with the Abbott WMM tie-breaking procedure.
Keitany wins the title for the second time after 2011/2012 while it was Kipchoge’s maiden victory.
Kipchoge and Keitany who will each earn USD500,000 (Sh50m) were honoured at an awards ceremony to mark the conclusion of the year-long series that featured the Abbott WMM races: the Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City marathons and the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 marathons.
Kipchoge finished at the top of the Abbott WMM Series leader board, earning 50 points for his victories at the 2015 London Marathon (2:04:42) and the 2015 Berlin Marathon (2:04:00).
Keitany earned her Abbott WMM Series title when she retained her 2015 New York City Marathon title in 2:24:25, months after finishing second at the 2015 London Marathon in 2:23:40, 18 seconds behind Ethiopian Tigist Tufa.
“Independence is normal, but interdependence has more value…I travelled 2015-2016 with the following; God the father, my coache (Patrick Sang), Global team, my family and my dear fellow athletes,” said Kipchoge. “I love you all and thank you.”
Kipchoge is the seventh Kenyan to win the WMM after Robert Cheruiyot (2006/2007), Martin Lel (2007/2008), Samuel Wanjiru (2008/2009, 2009/2010), Emmanuel Mutai (2010/2011), Geoffrey Mutai (2011/2012) and Wilson Kipsang (2013/2014).
Kenyan men have only missed it once in 2012/2013 to Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede.
Other Kenyans to win the women’s title are Edna Kiplagat (2010/2011) and Priscah Jeptoo (2012/2013)
“This year we’ve demonstrated our commitment to championing the sport, supporting the elite runners who prove that marathoners are among the world’s greatest athletes, and celebrating the 250,000 runners who every year join us on our iconic courses,” said Abbott WMM general manager Tim Hadzima.
The unanimous vote for the women’s champion focused on the strength of the race fields in which Keitany, Dibaba and Kiprop competed, as determined by the number of total Abbott WMM points earned by their competitors in the respective races.