Six Star World Marathon Majors

Can you rise to the challenge?

By AFM Team – November 1, 2023
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In 2016, Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) introduced a Six Star Medal to honor runners who complete the six major marathons – Tokyo, Berlin, London, Boston, Chicago, and New York. To earn the AbbottWMM Six Star Medal, a runner must complete all six marathons. The medal is a symbol of remarkable dedication and achievement in the world of long-distance running, and it’s a coveted goal for many marathon enthusiasts. It represents a significant commitment to the sport and the ability to compete in and finish these prestigious races on a global scale. Let’s explore each of the six marathons in the AbbottWMM Series and see what you can expect if you choose to run them.

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon has gained significant popularity since its inception in 2007, with a growing number of participants each year. The course usually starts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku and passes through various iconic landmarks and districts in Tokyo, including the Imperial Palace, Asakusa, Ginza, and Nihonbashi (course map).

The Tokyo Marathon is known for its well-organized event management, enthusiastic crowd support, and the unique experience it offers to both professional and amateur runners. It has gained a reputation for being a fast course, attracting top-tier professional athletes aiming for personal bests and records.

BMW Berlin Marathon

The Berlin Marathon is one of the major international marathons known for its fast course and its significance in the world of long-distance running. Held annually in Berlin, Germany, it typically occurs in late September. The Berlin Marathon is famous for its flat and relatively smooth course, attracting elite athletes from around the world, as well as thousands of recreational runners.

The race route usually starts and finishes near the Brandenburg Gate, with the course passing through various notable landmarks in Berlin, including the Berlin Victory Column, Potsdamer Platz, and the Berlin Cathedral. September 2024 will mark the Berlin Marathon’s 50th anniversary (course map).

TCS London Marathon

Historically held in late April, the London Marathon is known for its diverse and scenic course that passes through many landmarks in London, including the Tower Bridge, the River Thames, the Cutty Sark, and Buckingham Palace. The race begins in Greenwich and Blackheath and finishes at The Mall near St. James’s Park (course map).

The event attracts a mix of elite professional and recreational runners, with thousands of participants worldwide. The London Marathon also has a strong charitable aspect, with many runners raising funds for various charitable causes.

BoA Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in the world. It is an annual marathon race in Boston, Massachusetts, typically on Patriots’ Day, which falls on the third Monday in April. The race is renowned for its rich history and challenging course. The race begins in the town of Hopkinton and finishes near Copley Square in Boston (course map).

What makes the Boston Marathon particularly special is its qualification requirement. To participate in the Boston Marathon, runners must meet specific time standards based on age and gender by completing a previous marathon. This qualification requirement adds to the race’s prestige and competitiveness.

The Boston Marathon has a strong tradition and is known for its iconic Heartbreak Hill, a significant incline in the course that challenges runners as they approach the later stages of the race. The event draws top-tier athletes, as well as recreational runners, and has a rich history of memorable performances and stories. It is famous for its passionate spectators and is a noteworthy event in Boston and the global running community.

BoA Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon is an annual marathon race held in Chicago, Illinois, typically in early October. The flat course generally starts and finishes in Grant Park, located in downtown Chicago. Runners follow a route through various neighborhoods, landmarks, and the scenic Lake Michigan waterfront (course map).

Participation in the Chicago Marathon is highly competitive, with a lottery and qualification system for entry, and it attracts runners from all over the world. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere, making it a significant event on the global marathon calendar and a highlight for both runners and spectators.

TCS New York City Marathon

The New York City Marathon is one of the world’s most famous marathon races. It is held annually in New York City, typically on the first Sunday in November (course map).

One of the unique features of the NYC Marathon is the lottery entry system, which allows both qualified and non-qualified runners a chance to participate. The event also has a charitable component, with many participants running to raise funds for various causes.

The New York City Marathon is famous for its challenging and hilly course, making it a true test of endurance and determination. It has a rich history and is considered one of the most exciting and iconic marathon races globally, attracting top athletes and running enthusiasts from around the world.

2023 Course Preview


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