The World Marathon Majors

The Davey Black Triathlon Club Melbourne, Coach Nestor, is a Boston marathon finisher and a huge fanatic of all things running. Today, he will take us through the World Marathon Majors which now includes a new course, right on our doorstep!

In the Marathon world, there is a series of events that are considered the most important races in the world. These events are considered as the highest profile races in the world. Each event is followed by athletes all around the world to the point that some athletes make their life’s journey to be part in all 6 marathons. In today’s blog, we bring to you the World Marathon Majors.

The World Marathon Majors are the most high-profile Marathons in the world, each event attracting the best athletes from all around the world. For most of them it is just not matter of signing up and racing, to be part of these fantastic events, you have one of three options. The first is to be part of a charity and fundraise for a cause, but as some athletes say “Fundraising for a Marathon can be as hard as training for it.” The second option is to get in the lottery and pray for the Running gods to stand by your side (not every Marathon has this option.). And the third and final option is to become one of the best in the business of running and breaking the qualifying times for each marathon. As you can see, getting into these is not easy, but it is not impossible. It requires discipline, consistency, and mental strength to achieve the dream.

“The Abbott World Marathon Majors started as a way to bring together the most elite athletes in the world, but it was also a way for the most renowned race directors to share best practices and learn from each other.” – Tim Hadzima, executive director at Abbott World Marathon Majors

Completing the World Marathon Majors will award you with the legendary Six-star Medal. This medal represents the journey of years (if not decades) that some athletes have taken to qualify, race and represent their families, clubs, communities, and countries in the 6 most iconic Marathons in the world.

To this date, there only 191 Australian 6-star finishers.

New York

First stop, the race across the “Big Apple”. One of the most iconic races in the United States, this race is full of history from the thousands of great runners who have faced this event. The course will take runners across some of the most important places like Staten Island (where the race begins), and will go across the Venezzano-Narrows bridge, where most athletes will see some of the most important places in the city (New York harbour and the Statue of Liberty) before moving into Brooklyn. From there the course will take the athletes across Queens, the Bronx and a fantastic finish in central park in the middle of Manhattan. A once in a lifetime race.

To enter this race, you can get into one of the charities, volunteer or beat one of these times based on your age at the time of racing.

18 to 34 years old (2:53 for men, 3:13 for women)

35 to 39 (2:55 for men, 3:15 for women)

40 to 44 (2:58 for men, 3:15 for women)

45 to 49 (3:05 for men, 3:38 for women)

50 to 54 (3:14 for men, 3:51 for women)

55 to 59 (3:23 for men, 4:10 for women)

60 to 64 (3:34 for men, 4:27 for women)

65 to 69 (3:45 for men, 4:50 for women)

70 to 74 (4:10 for men, 5:30 for women)

75 to 79 (4:30 for men, 6:00 for women)

80-plus (4:55 for men, 6:35 for women)

One interesting fact is that this is the only World Marathon Major that also accepts Half Marathon times to get in:

18 to 34 (1:21 for men, 1:32 for women)

35 to 39 (1:23 for men, 1:34 for women)

40 to 44 (1:25 for men, 1:37 for women)

45 to 49 (1:28 for men, 1:42 for women)

50 to 54 (1:32 for men, 1:49 for women)

55 to 59 (1:36 for men, 1:54 for women)

60 to 64 (1:41 for men, 2:02 for women)

65 to 69 (1:46 for men, 2:12 for women)

70 to 74 (1:57 for men, 2:27 for women)

75 to 79 (2:07 for men, 2:40 for women)

80-plus (2:15 for men, 2:50 for women)


Along with Berlin, this is one of the fastest courses, home of some of the world records. This course is known for being fast and flat and in recent years athletes have reported to be racing with “perfect weather conditions.”

The Chicago Marathon will take athletes across the “Magnificent mile” in Michigan avenue, where some of the most historic buildings are, into Lincoln Park, home of museums, a zoo and fantastic views of the beautiful lake and shoreline. It will also present you with the Union Station, where more than 3 million people visit each year and is used to receiving more than 300 trains each day! Finally, the course will take you through some of the most important multicultural scenarios as Chicago being home of a great number of immigrants in the last century. Then into grant park, where the finish line and celebrations are held.

This race doesn’t publish the registration details until race weekend ahead of next year’s event, so each year the registration process changes a little, it is better to check next time you see the event occurring to get ready for next year. Normally, around 70% of the athletes who sign each year to the lottery get to race the event.


A fast, sharp, and exciting course. Home of the current world record presentation by Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:39). Berlin promises to be a great course for the history, the athletes and the exciting course that waits for all athletes. What makes this course so historically important, is the fact that athletes will be running in a unified city, after it was separated for more than 30 years. The importance of every single street, every neighbourhood, every building is something to admire. Athletes will be racing in a historic place. The course finishes in the one and only Brandenburg gate, a sign of greatness for all the athletes who have crossed the challenging course, a true symbol of what this race is. History says that after 1990, many athletes had tears in their eyes after crossing the gate of a unified city.

To get in there, you can get the lottery, or beat these times based on your age on race day:

Age 18 to 44 (2:45 for men, 3:00 for women)

Age 45 to 59 (2:55 for men, 3:20 for women)

Age 60 and up (3:25 for men, 4:10 for women)


The “new kid” on the block, Tokyo became a Marathon Major just in 2007. It became popular with the Asian and Oceania athletes in recent years. This event is known for being fast, flat and rainy too, and home of the “Amateur Avenger” Yuki Kawauchi. The course will take athletes along beautiful place like the Kaminarimon (The Thunder Gate), the Imperial Palace and the Tokyo Tower. This event has been popularly known for being extremely supported by the local community, making every single athlete feel like a rock star.

Besides getting to know the city, athletes will have the opportunity to embrace the Japanese culture along the way. A jewel in the far east, this marathon is one to be considered in every athlete’s journey.

To get in there, you can get the lottery, or beat these times based on your age on race day:

2:21:01 to 2:45:00 (men)

2:52:01 to 3:30:00 (women)


The popularity of this Marathon is outstanding. Home of the popular athlete Mo Farah, this course offers a race across the historic landmarks in the city. Runners will have the opportunity to see some iconic places like the London bridge, the business district of Canary Warf, and the St. Paul’s Cathedral, designed in 1675. Finally, athletes will finish by visiting the Palace of Westminster and the Buckingham Palace just before reaching the finish line.

On 2019, the London Marathon organisers reported getting 457,861 applications for only 17,000 entries. This means that if you entered the lottery, you had a 3.7% chance of getting in. If you were one of the lucky ones, feel free to consider yourself blessed by the Marathon Gods.


The Legendary Boston Marathon is the most important Marathon in the world. Home to thousands of stories and mythical feats from some of the most renowned athletes in the world. Every single corner, street and building will be covered in love for the sport. The whole city comes together to put in a show for every athlete around, around 500,000 spectators are recorded each year supporting the athletes.

This course is where the first woman finished a Marathon (Kathrine Switzer) opening the door to women around the globe. This is where the infamous Heartbreak hill is and this is where Yuki Kawauchi (amateur Athlete) beat the elites in 2018 in one of the toughest races ever recorded.

Important fact, after the 2012 Boston Marathon Bombings, the Boston Marathon became a symbol of resilience and hope. Athletes are greeted by respect, gratitude, and love by everyone in the city, from the local community to the Boston Red Sox who host a game on that day to celebrate with the athletes.

To enter this marathon, there is no lottery, only by a charity or directly qualifying with a top time. The current qualifying times for 2022 are as it shows:

Age Group        MEN                             WOMEN

18-34               3hrs 00min 00sec          3hrs 30min 00sec

35-39               3hrs 05min 00sec          3hrs 35min 00sec

40-44               3hrs 10min 00sec          3hrs 40min 00sec

45-49               3hrs 20min 00sec          3hrs 50min 00sec

50-54               3hrs 25min 00sec          3hrs 55min 00sec

55-59               3hrs 35min 00sec          4hrs 05min 00sec

60-64               3hrs 50min 00sec          4hrs 20min 00sec

65-69               4hrs 05min 00sec          4hrs 35min 00sec

70-74               4hrs 20min 00sec          4hrs 50min 00sec

75-79               4hrs 35min 00sec          5hrs 05min 00sec

80 and over      4hrs 50min 00sec          5hrs 20min 00sec


In the early hours of the 28th of July of 2022, Sydney was announced as a candidate race. This Marathon, being held in one of the most important cities in Australia, goes along some of the most iconic places, from the Opera house to Sydney Harbour Bridge. This Marathon promises a great journey to those seeking to see one of the most important cities in Australia as well as the challenging course that characterises it.

This year, it will be held on the 18th of September. And if everything goes as planned, in the next couple of years, athletes and enthusiasts will have the opportunity to race along some of the best athletes like Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, or Edna Kiplagat and Mara Yamauchi.

You can see more about the newest course here:

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