Gete Wami wins half-a-million-dollar jackpot

By Tadias Staff

New York - With a half-mile left in the ING New York City Marathon women’s professional races today, 2004 champion Paula Radcliffe, 33, of Great Britain ran one step ahead of Ethiopia’s Gete Wami, who had followed her closely for the entire race.

It ended in the same order. Radcliffe won after a dramatic duel with Gete Wami, who finished second, good enough to claim the first-ever World Marathon Majors (WMM) title and its $500,000 jackpot prize.

Two-time defending champion Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia came in third.

Gete Wami and Jelena Prokopcuka were the only two athletes with a real chance of winning the World Marathon Majors jockpot prize of $500,000. Gete came into the race leading with a total of 65 points and Jelena was second with 55 points. Berhane Adere, also from Ethiopia, was tied in second place with Prokopcuka at 55 points, but she did not compete in New York City Marathon.

Prokopcuka would have won the title if: she was second and Wami placed fourth or lower, or she was third and Wami placed below the top five.

But, the coveted prize went to Wami, who placed second at 2:23:13. And Prokopcuka finished the race third place at 2:26:13. Radcliffe, the British world-record holder covered the 42.2-kilometers through the five boroughs of New York City in 2:23:09.

“I’m so happy to be the first World Marathon Majors winner,” said the 32-year old Wami, according to the Bangkok Post, which quoted a story on the majors’ website. “I came to New York to win the jackpot, and I did it. The race felt good and I’m happy.”


Paula Radcliffe, 33, of Great Britain ran one step ahead of Ethiopia’s Gete Wami, who had followed her closely for the entire race. Photo: ING New York City Marathon

Radcliffe, who was returning after a two-year break to have a child—and then to recover from a stress-fractured sacrum that resulted from the birth—also simply loves to race.

“It was great fun today,” she said. “Way more than crosstraining in a pool. And I’m just so glad to be back.”

It was a competition among friends. Wami had commented about Radcliffe prior to the race: ““I consider myself to have grown with Paula since our track and cross country days, and I’ve appreciated our competition over the years.”


From left: Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia, Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain, and Gete Wami of Ethiopia. Photo: ING New York City Marathon

Gete Wami’s strong showing today comes only 35 days after winning the Berlin Marathon.


Gete Wami, racing 35 days after winning the Berlin Marathon, finished second, clinching a $500,000 prize for the women’s World Marathon Majors title. Photo: ING New York City Marathon

Wami’s 500,000-dollar prize will be awarded on Monday in New York by the consortium of the World Marathon Majors, an organization of five major marathons – Boston, Berlin, London, Chicago and New York – set up two years ago.

The inaugural Marathon Majors covered the races in New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin and London in 2006 and 2007, plus the world championship race this year in Osaka.

The awards will be made to Wami and the men’s aggregate winner, Kenya’s Robert Cheruiyot, who secured his half-million-dollar jackpot with two wins in Boston plus first place in Chicago 2006 and fourth place there this year.

Source: ING New York City Marathon and the Bangkok Post,

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Wami v$. Prokopčuka: Battle for $500,000

By Tadias Staff

New York – Two-time defending champion Jeļena Prokopčuka of Latvia (above left) and World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series leader Gete Wami of Ethiopia are among the ING New York City Marathon 2007 favorites, according to ING NYC Marathon’s website.

Both are aiming not only to win the race but also to claim the first-ever WMM title and its $500,000 jackpot prize.

2007 real,- Berlin Marathon champion Wami, 33, arrived from her home in Ethiopia today to prepare for her race on Sunday. Berlin was only five weeks ago, and her attempted double is unprecedented among top-level professional runners, who typically run only one or two marathons per year. Everyone is wondering what kind of shape she’s in.

Heading into this second major fall marathon, Wami says, “I was happy I was able to win in Berlin. Had Berlin worn me out, I wouldn’t be here.”

When asked specifically about her physical condition coming into New York, ”I am well prepared to compete in this race,” Wami says.

She eased up at the 30K mark in Berlin to cruise in for a 2:23:17 win.


Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia (left) and World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series leader Gete Wami of Ethiopia (right). Photo: ING NYC Marathon

In a testament to the WMM Series, which was created to increase the visibility of professional marathon running worldwide, Wami noted that “yes, the fact that the WMM Series was taking place was an important factor in my decision to come here to New York.”

But she maintains a respect for the physical realities: “I have to listen to my body and know what it is telling me.”

Having fared well on flat, fast courses in the past, Wami is counting on her experience with this course (she placed seventh here in 2005, after giving birth to her daughter, Eva, now 4), and her training on flats, uphills, and downhills back home, to carry her to victory this year. “I know it’s tough terrain, and each athlete’s stamina will be a deciding factor,” she said.

Prokopcuka, 31, has achieved star status back home in Latvia, where she says, “people pay more attention to running now” after her second victory. Coming off her two wins here in New York, and a strong second-place finish at the Boston Marathon in April, she is ready to break the tape in New York yet again.

“The [ING] New York City Marathon is my favorite,” she said today, adding, “it is really exciting for me to have a chance to win for the third time and win the World Marathon Majors [Series].”

Prokopcuka is well aware of her second-place status in the WMM standings and the fact that there is only one race left to decide the winner of the $500,000 prize purse. With a three-peat in New York, Prokopcuka would add her name beside Grete Waitz, the only other woman able to best this race more than twice and also become 2006-2007 WMM Series victor, a title that will be presented for the first time on November 5. Challenger Wami has set her sights on the very same title. Only one woman can win.

Prokopcuka and Wami are quick to mention the other top contenders entered in Sunday’s race, especially world record-holder and ING New York City Marathon 2004 champion Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain.

“[The competitive field] will make November 4 exciting for me,” said Prokopcuka. “These women, especially Paula, don’t like to run slowly.” Wami commented, “I consider myself to have grown with Paula since our track and cross country days, and I’ve appreciated our competition over the years.” Also affecting the race on Sunday, world champion Catherine Ndereba and Boston’s reigning champion, Lidiya Grigoryeva will be taking the field.

“It’s a pretty complicated matrix of who ends up where. But each runner controls her own destiny if she wins,” said ING New York City Marathon race director Mary Wittenberg.

Wami leads the WMM Series with 65 points right now, and Prokopcuka is right behind her with 55. If either Wami or Prokopcuka takes the gold in New York, the champion of the five boroughs will also earn the WMM Series crown. Prokopcuka will win the title if: she is second and Wami places fourth or lower, or she is third and Wami places below the top five. In the case of a tie, the first WMM title will go to the winner in head-to-head competition, and Prokopcuka will take the coveted prize. In any other race-day situation, with Wami placing top-five, in a scoring scenario, she will take the WMM Series crown. But with two titles on the line this Sunday, only the race itself will provide definitive answers.

The 38th ING New York City Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 4, 2007.

The race through New York’s five boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan), unites dozens of culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, passing over five bridges, and finishing up at Tavern on the Green in Central Park.

The event attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and 315 million worldwide television viewers.

Source: ING New York City Marathon

2 Responses to “Gete Wami wins half-a-million-dollar jackpot”


  1. 1 moges Girma Dec 6th, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Hello Dear,
    I really appreciate Ur website features & information content. I strongly want gete wami address related with work. If it is possible please help me to get her address.e-mail or telephone or P.O.Box whatever. I thankyou very much for Ur cooperation.

  2. 2 neka w. Feb 3rd, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    i would like to find out the meaning of her last name and its origins

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