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The way to Change into A Six-Star Finisher

Whether or not you’re a newbie, beginner, or seasoned runner, there shall be a race in your operating bucket checklist that you just actually need to do. However for a choose few runners throughout the marathon world, it’s multiple race that captures the eye. It’s a prestigious bucket checklist — the World Marathon Majors (WMM).

This can be a collection of six marathons in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York Metropolis. 

Finishing one among these marathons is one thing you could be pleased with; finishing two places you in an elite group of only a few, however operating all six WMM races will see you obtain a ‘Six Star Medal’. Lower than 12,000 folks worldwide can say they maintain this title, so it truly is a novel accomplishment.

Sadly, these races have gotten more and more widespread, and it could possibly take years to get to all six. Chances are you’ll have to plan your registration and races strategically… and that’s earlier than you even add coaching to the combination.

Whether or not you’re taking a look at operating one of many Main races or plan to finish all of them, we’ll cowl all the pieces it is advisable to know. From the races themselves and the way they grew to become Majors to which race is probably the most difficult, we now have all of it. So lace up your trainers – let’s get into it.

The Six World Marathon Majors

How Do Marathons Change into World Majors?

The six marathon majors

Earlier than a race can apply to develop into a Main race, it should meet sure standards. These standards are very particular and strict, masking each side of the marathon. As a runner, you possibly can count on glorious professionalism and group on the course and within the admin course of.

Some standards are greater issues, like distance (it have to be precisely 42.195 km or 26 miles 385 yards) and registration course of, to the smaller issues just like the variety of help stations, size of help station tables, and variety of cups per desk.

Assembly every of the required standards isn’t nearly leaping via hoops; it’s to make sure all of the Majors are organized to the identical customary with consistency throughout the board.

What Are The Dates of Every Marathon Main?

The races are usually held on the identical weekend yearly to assist with planning (for opponents and organizers alike). 

The dates of every main are as follows:

  • Tokyo – March, first Sunday
  • Boston – April, third Monday
  • London – April, final Sunday
  • Berlin – September, final Sunday
  • Chicago – October, Sunday of Columbus Day weekend
  • New York Metropolis – November, first Sunday

Organizers usually announce the following 12 months’s confirmed race day on the weekend of the marathon, permitting runners to plan forward.

The way to Qualify and Register for a Main

To run within the Main Marathons, it is advisable to qualify and register. Every race has its personal occasions it is advisable to obtain primarily based on gender and age group, however there are a number of different choices to get a bib when you don’t meet the qualification standards.

Every race has a random lottery that offers everybody a good probability of being drawn. This includes registering on the race web site, giving your particulars, then ready for an e-mail confirming whether or not you’ve been drawn or not.

You can even run with a charity companion – this implies you fundraise for a sure charity, and also you’re given a bib in return. You’ll additionally probably obtain a shirt that promotes the charity so you possibly can increase consciousness whereas operating. This can be a widespread choice however could be fairly difficult when you don’t have a large circle of mates or a option to generate funds.

Lastly, you possibly can enter with a tour group, resembling Marathon Excursions & Journey, who coordinate logistics and assure your entry to every race – for a worth.

Registration Dates for Every Main Marathon

A lot of the races have a brief window for members to register for the race. Beneath are among the most necessary dates and useful suggestions for every race.


Tokyo Marathon Guide
Put together with our full Tokyo Marathon Information

Registration normally begins in August. For runners over 19 years of age who can full a marathon in 6:40, the overall lottery is the only option to enter. The lottery gives round 26,000 runners entry to the race.

Should you’re a quick runner, you possibly can reap the benefits of the RUN as ONE program, a semi-elite entry for worldwide runners. This program requires candidates to realize qualifying occasions within the occasions which are:

  • World Athletics Label
  • World Athletics Elite Label
  • World Athletics Elite Platinum Label

The qualifying occasions set by this system are 2:32 for males and three:19 for girls. There aren’t age teams, however the sooner your time, the upper your probability of receiving entry.

Lastly, you possibly can run for one among Tokyo Marathon’s 33 worthwhile charity companions. There are three charity choices:

  • 3,700 entries: first-come, first-served non-crowdfunding entries for runners who pay 100,000 JPY (round US $950).
  • 300 entries: crowdfunding entry for the “Run with Coronary heart” charity for runners who increase probably the most cash for the trigger.
  • 1,000 entries: runners can work with Tokyo Marathon-affiliated charities and want to boost at the very least 200,000 JPY (round $1,900). Bibs are given on a first-come, first-served foundation.


Run the Boston Marathon guide
Put together with our full Boston Marathon Information.

Boston organizers usually open registration in September and settle for entries for round every week. Regardless of your qualifying time, all runners register inside this window. 

Boston usually doesn’t meet the minimal variety of qualifiers, so that you’re virtually assured a spot within the race when you run a qualifying time. However this wasn’t the case in 2021 when over 9,000 runners with qualifying occasions weren’t accepted.

You can even run for one of many Boston Marathon charity companions. There are round 30 totally different packages to select from, so you will discover one near your coronary heart and run on their behalf.


London Marathon Guide
Put together with our full London Marathon Information.

The London Marathon is all in regards to the lottery, particularly when you’re not a UK citizen or resident. You may apply for the lottery in April after the present 12 months’s marathon is completed, and also you’ll discover out when you’ve been chosen after the attract June. This is among the most oversubscribed marathons on the earth, so your probabilities of being drawn within the lottery are lower than 10%.

You can even apply for a Good for Age entry. It’s not a assured entry, however your likelihood is increased than with the lottery. The London Marathon additionally has a well-supported Charity entry system, so when you’re eager to do some fundraising, you may give {that a} go.


Running the Berlin marathon guide
Put together with our full Berlin Marathon Information.

You can begin registering for the Berlin Marathon in October. Registration is generally round three weeks lengthy, providing you with extra time to register than most different Majors. Should you’re registering with a qualifying time, you’re assured entry to the race. 

Should you didn’t run a qualifying time, there’s no want to stress – you possibly can nonetheless enter the overall lottery. It’s much less aggressive than the London Marathon, however the race has gained reputation since Eliud Kipchoge ran his World Report on the traditionally PR-friendly course.

As with the opposite Majors, you may also safe an entry by elevating cash and operating for a charity. The race has a number of affiliated causes to select from, every of which has totally different necessities to get your bib.


Chicago marathon guide
Put together with our full Chicago Marathon Information.

You may enter the Chicago Marathon lottery in October and discover out when you’ve been drawn in December. Should you’ve run the marathon 5 occasions or extra within the final ten years, you’re assured a bib (Legacy finisher entry). You additionally obtain assured entry when you’ve completed the Shamrock Shuffle 8K at the very least 4 occasions since 2008 and have registered for the following one (Shamrock Shuffle Legacy entry).

The Chicago Marathon has a number of well-supported charity entries accessible when you’d wish to run for a superb trigger. You can even obtain assured entry when you fall into the American Improvement Program class – that is an entry for many who meet a qualifying time primarily based on age. This entry is just like the Time Qualifier entry however particularly geared toward US residents.

New York Metropolis

NYC Marathon guide
Put together with our full New York Metropolis Marathon Information.

As with the remainder of the Marathon Majors, you possibly can qualify primarily based on the time requirements. You may enter the random lottery when you aren’t fairly at that stage. The draw takes place over a month, usually from mid-January to mid-February.

Runners who reside within the NYC space can be part of the 9+1 program. You be part of the New York Street Runners in January the 12 months earlier than the marathon, then full 9 NYRR races plus volunteer at one (9+1) all year long. This offers you an entry to the New York Marathon.

Runners who’ve accomplished 15 New York Metropolis Marathons have assured lifetime entry. If you wish to run for a trigger, you may get an entry by elevating $3,000 minimal for a charity in trade on your bib.

Different Registration Choices

If you wish to run all six World Marathon Majors however don’t need to fear about qualifying occasions, lotteries, or elevating cash for charity, you need to use a tour group, as we talked about earlier. This implies your journey to all of the marathons shall be coordinated, however they may also guarantee your entries are taken care of, so all it is advisable to do is practice and present up on the beginning line.

Which Main Marathon Is the Hardest to Enter?

Regardless of the place you’re from, however particularly when you’re from outdoors the UK, the hardest marathon to get into is the London Marathon. This race usually sees round 500,000 folks register, however solely 17,500 are accepted from normal entry. 

The race sees round 40,000 runners cross the beginning line, however greater than half of these are elites, charity runners, time qualifiers, good-for-age entries, and deferrals from earlier years.

Which Main Marathon is the Hardest to Run?

Every marathon has its highs and lows, challenges and highlights, however those that’ve run all six races agree that New York and Boston are probably the most difficult. They’re each fairly hilly programs. New York has bridges to cross, and Boston has many hills, together with Heartbreak Hill.

London is available in third place for problem, not for being hilly or sizzling, however for the quite a few 90-degree turns and overcrowding that occurs within the first few miles. London can also be recognized to get fairly chilly and wet in some years. Subsequent is Tokyo, which is sort of a straightforward course, however it rains extra on marathon day than not.

Lastly, we now have Chicago and Berlin, each of that are famously quick and flat. Neither course has traditionally skilled a lot rain or wind on race day. Actually, the final 8 males’s marathon world information have been run on the Berlin Marathon course, displaying simply how briskly and flat the course is.

Regardless of which marathon you’re operating, you’ll want to arrange and practice correctly to make sure you end robust with a smile in your face. Many runners practice for years to get their race qualification occasions or to be drawn within the lottery – the very last thing any runner desires in spite of everything that’s to DNF. Do your analysis earlier than race day and guarantee your coaching is acceptable for the circumstances.

What Do You Get If You End All Six World Marathon Majors?

A certificates, a medal, a cheer from your mates, and brownie factors. Finishing all six races isn’t any small feat, and it usually takes runners a number of years to do all of the Majors. Sadly, you might by no means end the race for the Majors. 

The reason being that new races are at all times being thought-about and added – Tokyo was solely added to the WMM checklist in 2013. So, very similar to coaching for a marathon, the hunt for the Main end line is ongoing.

The Main Marathons: Enjoyable Info & Stats

Now that you know the way to register for every marathon and which is the toughest, let’s have a look at what every race is about and a few enjoyable info and stats from every.

Tokyo Marathon

This race is the primary Main of the 12 months, seeing runners taking up the streets of Tokyo on the primary Sunday of every March. This race was first run in 2007, making it the youngest race of the Majors.

The race begins at Shinjuku’s Metropolitan Authorities Constructing and winds via town streets earlier than doubling again on itself. The second half of the route is a looped duplicate of the primary half. Alongside the course, runners go the Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, and Asakusa earlier than ending on the Tokyo Worldwide Exhibition Centre.

The male winner of the primary race in 2007 was Daniel Njenga from Kenya, and the feminine winner was Japan’s Niiya Hitomi.

See extra in our prolonged information: operating the Tokyo marathon.

Tokyo Marathon Stats and Data

  • Males’s file: 2022 – Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) – 2:02:40
  • Girls’s file: 2022 – Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) – 2:16:02
  • Males’s wheelchair file: 2020 – Suzuki Tomoki (Japan) – 1:21:52
  • Girls’s wheelchair file: 2020 – Kina Tsubasa (Japan) – 1:40:00
  • Runners in 2023: 38,000
  • Notable high quality: Greatest elite begin of all of the Majors

Boston Marathon

This Main is the second Main of the calendar 12 months, run on the third Monday of April every year: Patriot’s Day within the US. This race is the world’s oldest annual marathon and was first run in 1897. The Boston Marathon was impressed by the Athens Olympic Video games in 1896.

The race was initially just for male members, however in 1966, Roberta Gibb snuck into the race and accomplished it in 3:21:40. From 1972, girls have been formally allowed to enter the marathon.

The Boston Marathon begins at Hopkinton State Park and passes many native sights, together with Natick Middle Cultural District, Ashland Clock Tower, and the Ceaselessly Younger statue. This statue commemorates Johnny “Kelley the Elder” Kelley, who completed the Boston Marathon 61 occasions. The end line is at Copley Sq..

The male winner of the primary race in 1897 was John J. McDermott from the USA, who ran the race in 2:55:10, and the primary official feminine winner in 1972 was USA’s Nina Kuscsik.

See extra in our prolonged information: operating the Boston marathon.

Boston Marathon Stats and Data

  • Males’s file: 2011 – Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) – 2:03:02
  • Girls’s file: 2014 – Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) – 2:19:59
  • Males’s wheelchair file: 2017 – Marcel Hug (Switzerland) – 1:18:03
  • Girls’s wheelchair file: 2019 – Manuela Schar (Switzerland) – 1:34:19
  • Runners in 2023: 30,000
  • Notable high quality: Oldest annual marathon on the earth

London Marathon

A whopping SEVEN world information have been run on the London Marathon course, which is usually thought-about the second-fastest Marathon Main route. The primary marathon was held in 1981 and was the brainchild of Chris Brasher, an Olympic Video games steeplechase gold medalist, and runner John Disley. After operating the 1979 New York Metropolis Marathon, he needed to create an identical race in London.

Working the London Marathon is among the greatest methods to see the very best of London’s sights, together with the London Eye, Cutty Sark, the Tower of London, and Large Ben. The race finishes in entrance of Buckingham Palace.

The male winner of the primary race in 1981 was a tie between Inge Simonsen from Norway and the USA’s Dick Beardsley, who each ran the race in 2:11:48. London’s Joyce Smith was the feminine winner of the primary two races in 1981 and 1982.

See extra in our prolonged information: operating the London marathon.

London Marathon Stats and Data

  • Males’s file: 2019 – Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) – 2:02:37
  • Girls’s file: 2003 – Paula Radcliffe (Nice Britain) – 2:15:25
  • Males’s wheelchair file: 2021 – Marcel Hug (Switzerland) – 1:26:27
  • Girls’s wheelchair file: 2021 – Manuela Schar (Switzerland) – 1:39:52
  • Runners in 2023: 49,000
  • Notable high quality: Most watched marathon on the earth

Berlin Marathon

For runners seeking to smash their marathon PBs or run on a super-fast course, the Berlin Marathon has all of it. Boasting over 12 world information, the Berlin Marathon was the positioning for Eliud Kipchoge’s official world file marathon – he ran a scorching 2:01:09.

The Berlin Marathon takes place on the final Sunday of September. The fast course begins and finishes in entrance of the world-famous Brandenburg Gate. This race was based in 1974 by Horst Milde, a neighborhood baker.

The male winner of the primary race in 1974 was Gunter Hallas from East Germany, who accomplished the race in 2:44:53. The feminine winner was Jutta Von Haase, who made her marathon debut on the inaugural Berlin Marathon and crossed the road in 3:22:01.

See extra in our prolonged information: operating the Berlin marathon.

Berlin Marathon Stats and Data

  • Males’s file: 2022 – Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) – 2:01:09
  • Girls’s file: 2022 – Tigist Assefa (Ethiopia) – 2:15:37
  • Males’s wheelchair file: 1997 – Heinz Frei (Switzerland) – 1:21:39
  • Girls’s wheelchair file: 2018 – Manuela Schar (Switzerland) – 1:36:53
  • Runners in 2022: 45,500
  • Notable high quality: Most world information (final 8 males’s world information set right here)

Chicago Marathon

Initially began in 1905, the present format of the Chicago Marathon was established in 1977 by Lee Flaherty and had solely 4,200 runners within the preliminary race. Now, virtually 40,000 elite and beginner runners tackle the course that meanders via the Windy Metropolis.

The marathon begins and finishes at Grant Park. This race will tickle the flowery of sports activities followers – the course passes three of Chicago’s most well-loved, well-known stadiums: Assured Fee Discipline, the United Centre, and Wrigley Discipline. It’s additionally thought-about one of many world’s greatest marathons – positively one thing value being part of.

Regardless of the potential of being a windy race, Chicago remains to be one of many quickest programs within the Majors. Actually, among the quickest marathon occasions in historical past have been run on this route, most notably Brigid Kosgei’s 2019 world file of two:14:04.

The primary male winner of this race in 1977 was USA’s Dan Cloeter, who ran the race in 2:17:52. The amazingly-named Dorothy Doolittle received the primary race in 2:50:47.

See extra in our prolonged information: operating the Chicago marathon.

Chicago Marathon Stats and Data

  • Males’s file: 2013 – Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) – 2:03:45
  • Girls’s file: 2019 – Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) – 2:14:04
  • Males’s wheelchair file: 2010 – Heinz Frei (Switzerland) – 1:26:56
  • Girls’s wheelchair file: 2017 – Tatyana McFadden (USA) – 1:39:15
  • Runners in 2022: 40,000
  • Notable high quality: Most neighborhoods lined in a marathon (29)

New York Metropolis Marathon

With virtually 50,000 runners in 2022, the New York Metropolis Marathon is the largest Main and the biggest marathon worldwide. The inaugural operating of this race had solely 127 opponents in 1970, however solely 55 runners crossed the end line. 

Gary Muhrcke from the USA received the race in 2:31:38. A 12 months later, in 1971, Anne Beth Bonner, additionally from the US, grew to become the primary feminine winner in a then-world file time of two:55:22. 

A brand new course was mapped in 1976, together with all 5 New York boroughs. The route began in Staten Island and completed in Central Park. Alongside the race, members cross 5 bridges, run previous iconic websites, and grind their method up steep hills.

Regardless of being pretty difficult, particularly as some years could be fairly sizzling (the best temperature was recorded throughout 1979’s race, reaching virtually 27 °C), 4 world information have been run on the New York Metropolis Marathon course, all by girls. Grete Waitz (Norway) set three of those information in three consecutive years – 1978, 1979, and 1980.

See extra in our prolonged information: operating the New York Metropolis marathon.

New York Metropolis Marathon Stats and Data

  • Males’s file: 2011 – Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) – 2:05:06
  • Girls’s file: 2003 – Margaret Okayo (Kenya) – 2:22:31
  • Males’s wheelchair file: 2022 – Marcel Hug (Switzerland) – 1:25:26
  • Girls’s wheelchair file: 2022 – Susannah Scaroni (USA) – 1:42:43
  • Runners in 2022: 50,000
  • Notable high quality: Most opponents on the earth

Prepared To Chase Your Six Star Medal?

From the largest marathon to the oldest annual marathon, the World Marathon Main races depart nothing to be desired. Over 800 marathons are organized yearly worldwide, however simply six – Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York – have the consideration and status of the WMM title.

Many runners set a objective of operating one or two of those Main races; some purpose to finish all of them. Doing so earns runners a Six Star Medal and places them in an elite membership of lower than 12,000 runners.

Now that you realize all the pieces there may be to know in regards to the six Majors, you possibly can resolve which you’d like to finish and by which order. Good luck – you’re going to want it!



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