The World Marathon Majors: The 6 Most Prestigious Marathons in the World

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The World Marathon Majors (WMM) is a prestigious series of six major marathons held annually in different cities around the world. These marathons are considered the pinnacle of long-distance running and attract elite athletes, as well as thousands of recreational runners from across the globe. The WMM series includes the Boston Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Tokyo Marathon, London Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and New York City Marathon.

Each of these marathons has its own unique history, challenges, and allure, making them highly anticipated events on the global running calendar. They showcase the spirit of competition, endurance, and human achievement. Let’s take a closer look at the Big 6 marathons that form the World Marathon Majors series.

A Closer Look at the Big 6

The Big 6 marathons, collectively known as the World Marathon Majors, are renowned for their well-organized races, vibrant atmospheres, and iconic routes. These races bring together the best long-distance runners in the world, providing an opportunity to witness record-breaking performances and inspiring stories of triumph. Let’s delve into the distinct characteristics of each race.

Boston Marathon: A Historic Race

The Boston Marathon, the oldest annual marathon in the world, holds a special place in the hearts of runners and spectators alike. Founded in 1897, this iconic race takes place on Patriots’ Day in April, attracting a field of elite athletes and determined qualifiers. The hilly terrain and unpredictable weather make it a challenging course, testing the resilience and endurance of the participants. The race finishes on Boylston Street, where thousands of spectators cheer on the runners as they sprint towards the iconic blue and yellow finish line.

Berlin Marathon: Speed and Records

The Berlin Marathon is known for its fast and flat course, making it a favorite among elite runners aiming for personal bests and world records. The race takes participants through the vibrant streets of Berlin, passing monumental landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Cathedral. In recent years, this marathon has witnessed astonishing record-breaking performances, including Eliud Kipchoge’s historic sub-two-hour marathon in 2019. The Berlin Marathon offers a world-class experience for both professional and amateur runners.

Tokyo Marathon: The East’s Finest

The Tokyo Marathon showcases the best of Japanese culture, combining modernity with tradition. The race begins at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and the course winds its way through the city’s bustling streets, passing iconic landmarks like the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower. With its enthusiastic crowd support and impeccable organization, the Tokyo Marathon offers a memorable experience for participants. This race has gained popularity worldwide and attracts runners from all corners of the globe.

London Marathon: Running Royalty

The London Marathon is a true celebration of running, attracting a diverse range of participants from elite athletes to costume-clad charity fundraisers. The race starts at Greenwich Park and takes runners on a spectacular route along the River Thames, passing iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and Buckingham Palace. The London Marathon is known for its electrifying atmosphere, with millions of spectators lining the streets to cheer on the runners. The event also hosts a wheelchair race, showcasing the incredible athleticism of para-athletes.

Chicago Marathon: Urban Adventure

The Chicago Marathon offers a scenic and flat course that winds through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, including the iconic Magnificent Mile and Grant Park. Known for its fast route, this marathon attracts both professional runners and amateurs aiming for personal achievements. The race finishes in Grant Park, where participants are greeted by a sea of cheering spectators. The Chicago Marathon has a reputation for its warm hospitality and has become a must-run race for many marathon enthusiasts.

Step 6: FAQs


Q: How can I qualify for the Boston Marathon?

A: To qualify for the Boston Marathon, you need to meet specific time standards based on your age and gender. These standards are set by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) and can be found on their official website.

Q: What is the current men’s world record for the Berlin Marathon?

A: The current men’s world record for the Berlin Marathon is held by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, who completed the race in a time of 2:01:39 in 2018.

Q: How many participants are there in the Tokyo Marathon?

A: The Tokyo Marathon typically attracts around 30,000 participants, including both elite runners and recreational runners from around the world.

Q: Does the London Marathon have a ballot system for entry?

A: Yes, the London Marathon operates a ballot system for general entry, as the demand for places far exceeds the available spots. However, there are also charity, club, and elite entry options available.

Q: What is the average temperature during the Chicago Marathon?

A: The average temperature during the Chicago Marathon, which takes place in October, ranges from around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius).

Q: Are there aid stations along the course of the World Marathon Majors races?

A: Yes, all the World Marathon Majors races have well-equipped aid stations located at regular intervals along the course. These stations provide water, sports drinks, and sometimes energy gels to help runners stay hydrated and fueled.

Q: How can I spectate at the Boston Marathon?

A: Spectators can line the course of the Boston Marathon to cheer on the runners. The race route passes through various neighborhoods, and the official website provides information on the best spots to watch the race.

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