Wanjiru for January HM

20.10.2009 World

The Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, which hosts the final race of the Formula One season in two weeks’ time will be put to further sporting effort on January 7.

when Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru and former world cross champion Lornah Kiplagat defend the titles they won in the Zayed International Half-Marathon in 2008. Writes Pat Butcher on his blog  With the same $300,000 each first prize on offer, a successful run in Abu Dhabi for the 22 year old Wanjiru will mean winnings of close to one million dollars in a little over two months. His victory in Chicago last weekend not only won him $175,000, but it also wrapped up the World Marathon Majors’ jackpot of $500,000, which he will formally pick up in New York in two weeks’ time. The young Kenyan won the inaugural Zayed International Half-Marathon in January 2008, but the race was cancelled in early 2009, while waiting for finalisation of the Yas Marina circuit. Wanjiru is world record holder for the half-marathon, with his 58:33 in The Hague in 2007. But his translation to the marathon has been the most successful in history, with victory in his last four races, including the Olympic Games, in superfast times. His spring marathon 2010 should be London, he said earlier. It won’t be an easy $300,000 in Abu Dhabi however. His colleague, Patrick Makau has run two sub-59min times, and five more under the once-unbreachable one hour; and four-time world champion, most recently in Birmingham nine days ago, Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea will also be on the start line. The women’s race will also feature a stellar line-up. Kenyan born Kiplagat, now of the Netherlands, and aged 35,  is women’s world record holder, with her 66:25 in Udine, Italy in 2007 and should be ok at that time after struggling with injury. But the woman in form is 27 year old Mary Keitany of Kenya, who has the top two times in the world this year, including the second best ever, 66:36, which won her the world title in Birmingham.

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