Stars' withdrawals set to water down London race

Kenya's Vincent Kipchumba (L) and Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (R) lead the elite men's race of the 2020 London Marathon in central London on October 4, 2020. AFP

The three big-name withdrawals from the London Marathon contest would water down United Kingdom's premier 42km race on Sunday.

For the first time in many years, the field will not be loaded with top stars.

Women's mixed race world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, two-time London Marathon runner-up Vincent Kipchumba and Britain's four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah have so far pulled out of Sunday's London Marathon due to injury.

Kenya's quest for the title now rests on the shoulders of Joyceline Jepkosgei.

Brigid, who set the world record of 2:14.04 at the 2019 Chicago Marathon where she erased Paula Radcliffe's record of 2:15.25 set in 2003, pulled out over a hamstring injury.

Sad for Brigid, who has come a long way to the pinnacle of marathon running.

"When I remember my humble beginnings and the challenges we went through, I feel I cannot get back to that kind of life and it pushes me to do well," Brigid said in an earlier interview.

When her mother could not raise school fees, Brigid dropped out of school while in Form Three. And she decided to take up athletics to make ends meet.

Kipchumba who was aiming at breaking a second-place jinx in London also withdrew due to injury.

Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia - the world silver medallist, and who was third in last year's London Marathon is also out of the race.

On Wednesday, Mo Farah withdrew from London Marathon, following a hip injury. Early this month, Mo won The Big Half in London.

"I've been training really hard over the past few months and I'd got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance at the TCS London Marathon," said Farah.

"However, over the past 10 days I've been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I've had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the Start Line but it hasn't improved enough to compete on Sunday."

Kenya's Brigid Kosgei crosses the line to win the London Marathon in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.

Meanwhile, the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) announced on Tuesday a drastic reduction in the series' prize money for runners.

The change will take effect immediately, applying to the current series, which began at the Tokyo Marathon in March (starting this year, the WMM seasons are based on calendar years rather than the multi-year format of years past). Kipchoge, who has all but locked up the 2022 WWM Series title, will receive $200,000 less for his efforts.

When the World Marathon Majors - which consists of Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York - launched in 2006, one of its signature elements was the $500,000 prize awarded each year to the men's and women's series champions.

In 2017, WMM altered its prize structure, reducing the grand prize to $250,000 (but adding $50,000 for second and $25,000 for third) while increasing prize money for wheelchair athletes and adding a charitable donation component of $280,000.

WMM announced that moving forward series champions will receive $50,000 each - just one-fifth of what was awarded last year and the same amount the wheelchair series champions receive.

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