The domination of long distance running by athletes from East Africa has reached such heights that in an effort to balance out future race fields organizers of the six World Marathon Majors will soon announce a new prize purse policy which will award cash winnings on a “coin-of-the-realm” payment schedule.
According to a well-placed World Marathon Majors source, an announcement will be made next week in Boston where the new policy will be instituted at the April 15th race. The new system will stipulate that any athlete who wins the 2013 Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, or New York City Marathons, and then Tokyo in 2014, will receive the event’s top prize in the same numerical amount as listed, but instead of being paid across the board in U.S. dollars, each prize will be linked to the athlete’s home currency.
For example, if Meb Keflizighi were to win the Boston Marathon on April 15th, as an American citizen he would receive $150,000US. Correspondingly, if Gebre Gebremariam were to come out victorious, he would bring 150,000 Ethiopian bir back home to Addis Ababa, which today is valued at $8,105.98. And if Levi Matebo would take the olive wreath home to Kenya, he would pocket 150,000 Kenyan shillings for his effort, which today is the equivalent of $1,755.41.
Under the new system, the big winners would be runners from Europe, as one Euro is currently valued at $1.28. While there are no European men in Boston’s pro field, if Ana Dulce Félix of Portugal were to win Boston’s women’s division, she would reap a harvest of €150,000, or $192,066.38.
“If a runner like defending champion Wesley Korir who hails from Kenya, but lives part of the year in the U.S. wins, he can petition for the U.S. dollar award,” explained someone familiar with the policy at World Marathon Majors, but who requested anonymity before the official announcement. “But U.S. residence must be for a minimum of six months, and even then the award would be proportional to the amount of time spent in the particular countries.”
According to this source, agent negotiated appearance fees would continue, but would be paid out in a combination of U.S. dollars and Gummy Bears.