© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

Currently, there are six so-called “Major Marathons” in a series called the Abbott World Marathon Majors. The 42.195 kilometre races are in Chicago, London, Boston, New York, Tokyo and Berlin. The organization is looking to add at least one if not two majors to its schedule within the next year or two.

All courses are fast, however, Boston and New York are hillier than the other four. Chicago, Berlin and London are nearly dead flat. Boston is a point-to-point race and is the only one where times are not considered for world records or standards for qualification to international competition. Berlin currently has the fastest times in the top-100 performances, however, Chicago and London have been home to world records.

Many hundreds of thousands of applications are received each year for each event. Boston requires qualification and has created a designation for other marathons to be labelled as an AIMS-certified Boston qualifier. New York is the only race of the six without pacers for the elite athletes. London is one of if not the largest charity fundraising events in the world.

Sydney Marathon

This summer it was announced that the Sydney Marathon in Australia has applied to become a Marathon Major. The 2023 edition was run as a trial on September 17.

The race has a few things going for it, for example, it is the Australian Marathon Championships. The event is the inaugural Australian Age Group Marathon Championships and the Australian Clubs Marathon Championships.

The race takes place in Australia and of course Sydney, what more does a destination marathon runner need?

“We’re thrilled to announce The Sydney Marathon, presented by ASICS, as a candidate race for the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM). Run one of the world’s most scenic marathon courses, taking in some of Sydney’s most spectacular and historic landmarks including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Over the next three years, the Sydney Marathon will be required to meet strict criteria to achieve ‘Majors’ status by 2025. If successful, Sydney Marathon will join an esteemed group of races, Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, TCS London Marathon, BMW-Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon.”

Cape Town Marathon

The Cape Town Marathon already goes by the nickname “Africa’s Major.” The bid is gaining momentum after what organizers say was another giant step towards that goal following this year’s event two weeks ago.

According to the publication The Sowetan Live, Cape Town was officially put under probation last year when the Abbott World Marathon Majors confirmed it was a candidate to join the elite list. This led to a changed route to meet some of the criteria, and there were further alterations this year which, for instance, saw overall route elevation reduced.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon held in Cape Town, South Africa, was first run in 2007, however, there was a previous version that was started in the early 1990s. Current distances include the marathon, 10K, 5K, and two trail runs that are 22K and 12K. The marathon is held on a fast and flat course, starting and finishing in Green Point, near the Cape Town Stadium.

The Cape Town Marathon is also the host of the South African marathon championships. The marathon is categorized as a Gold Label Road Race by World Athletics.

“As event organizers we have had access to Abbott Majors race directors and their associated organizers,” said Clark Gardner, CEO of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.

“Learning includes our understanding of what it takes to be one of the best marathons in the world. The size of the participant base is of vital importance. More runners participating means more numbers physically spectating and screen spectating. The participants and spectators then create the environment, camaraderie and spirit that makes marathon running so special.”

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