Training

Take on a Major Challenge

Along with the Virgin Money London Marathon, there are five other races that make up the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

The world’s six biggest and best 26.2-mile races came together to form the Majors in 2006 to offer runners the chance to become a Six Star Finisher.

The status is reserved for those who have completed all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, and the Six Star Medal is one of the most prized possessions in the world of marathon running.

So, if you have yet to run any of the other five races in the AbbottWMM family, why not give one a try?

Tokyo Marathon

Number of runners: 38,000
Date of first event: 2007
Last Brit to win the race: N/A
Don’t miss: The ticker tape filling the air as you leave the start line, the drummers out on course and the Friendship Run on Saturday morning.

Need to know? 

Tokyo is the baby of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, joining the original five races in November 2012. The city will also host the 2020 Olympics.

View from the top: Tad Hayano, race director

Tokyo is currently the only Asian Abbott World Marathon Majors race and offers you the chance to experience a totally different culture to that which you’ll find in our five partner race cities.

More info: marathon.tokyo/en/

Boston Marathon

Date of first event: 19 April 1897
Approx number of runners: 30,000
Last Brit to win the race: Ron Hill, 1970, 2:10:30
Don’t miss: The statue of John A. Kelley at the base of Heartbreak Hill. Kelley started 61 Boston Marathons, completing 58 of those, with two wins and seven second place finishes.

Need to know? 

Boston is the world’s oldest continuous marathon, entering its 123rd consecutive running in 2019. It is also the only member of the AbbottWMM family that requires runners to run a qualifying time as a condition of entry. The race is always held on the US holiday celebrating Patriots’ Day.

View from the top: Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association:

“If you run a Boston Qualifying time, don’t pass up the chance to experience the world’s oldest continuous marathon. There will be a warm welcome awaiting you in Boston both from the organisers and the people of Boston. Because in Boston, everyone owns the marathon.”

More info: baa.org

BMW BERLIN MARATHON

Date of first event: 13 October 1974
Last Brit to win the race: Steve Brace, 1991, 2:10:57
Don’t miss: The chance to run in the race where a new world record is set. Thanks to its ‘forgiving’ corners, Berlin holds the title of the fastest of the AbbottWMM courses. The men’s world record has been lowered there seven times this century, with Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge's incredible 2:01:39 in 2018 standing as the fastest time run on a certified course. 

Need to know?

The incredible Brandenburg Gate, which you’ll pass under before you reach the Finish Line, was once a symbol of the division between East and West Germany, but is now a national symbol of peace and unity.

View from the top: Mark Milde, race director

“With the quality of the fields we always have in Berlin, if the conditions are favourable, we always have the chance that a new world record might be set. If you are thinking of coming to run the BMW Berlin Marathon, what better reason than to be able to say “I was there when the world record fell”?

More info: bmw-berlin-marathon.com/en/

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Date of first event: 25 September 1977
Number of runners: 44,000
Last Brit to win the race: Paula Radcliffe, 2:17:18 WR, 2002
Don’t miss: Beer connoisseurs should take note at Mile 4 as the course takes in Goose Island, home to the famous brewery. Much later on you will not miss China Town around Mile 21 with its noise and colour before that last push for home.

Need to know? 

The race starts and finishes in the famous Grant Park – so anyone travelling with you can head back there to be reunited before celebrating your achievements!

View from the top: Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director

“We have seen world records tumble in Chicago thanks to the great conditions and the fact that our course gives runners the chance to run great times. Add to that the phenomenal support you get the whole way around the course, and this is a destination all marathon runners will love.”

More info: chicagomarathon.com

TCS New York City Marathon

Date of first event: 13 September 1970
Number of runners: 50,000
Last Brit to win the race: Paula Radcliffe, 2008, 2:23:56
Don’t miss: The Friday night parade of champions through the Finish Line in Central Park really kicks off race weekend in the Big Apple. The noise and colour generated at the official launch of the race is in stark contrast to the amazing silence on the Queensboro Bridge as you cross from Queens to Manhattan at mile 15.5. A tranquil moment in 26.2 miles of otherwise incredible support from an incredible city.

Need to know? 

New York boasts the largest proportion of overseas runners of any of the six AbbottWMM races. Check out the flags as you head down Central Park drive towards the finish.

View from the top: Outgoing Executive Race Director Peter Ciaccia

“The wide range of nationalities among our overseas contingent is representative of the huge melting pot that is this incredible city. Come to New York for marathon weekend and you will see New York and New Yorkers at their very best.”

More info: tcsnycmarathon.org