The Sydney Marathon, a prestigious event in the world of long-distance running, is currently under the global spotlight. With the recent announcement from the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM), the marathon is poised to host the 2024 Age Group World Championships in September.
This pivotal decision raises an intriguing question: Will Sydney Marathon ascend to the coveted status of a World Marathon Major?
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The Path to Prestige: World Marathon Majors Candidacy
The Abbott WMM’s decision to award a provisional WMM star to qualifiers participating in the 2024 championships in Sydney has created a buzz in the running community. Although this doesn’t guarantee Sydney Marathon’s elevation to the elite group of World Marathon Majors, it signifies a significant step in its journey towards potential inclusion in 2025.
The World Marathon Majors, an exclusive circuit of the most renowned marathons worldwide, currently includes six iconic races – Boston Marathon, New York Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon.
The introduction of the Six Star Medal in 2016, awarded to runners who complete all six marathons, has further elevated the prestige of these events. As of the last count, there have been over 8,000 six-star finishers from 104 countries, with the United States leading the tally.
The Sydney Marathon’s candidacy is a part of a broader initiative by Abbott WMM and its strategic partner, Infront Sports & Media, to explore expansion opportunities.
This initiative aims not only to enhance the runner experience but also to embrace diverse cultures and geographies in the marathon circuit. Alongside Sydney, Cape Town Marathon and Chengdu Marathon are also contenders for the “seventh star” position.
The process to become a World Marathon Major is rigorous, evaluating various factors like runner experience, course design, aid stations, and the quality of elite fields.
The candidacy of Sydney, along with Cape Town and Chengdu, reflects a commitment to broadening the horizons of the marathon world and reaching new continents and territories.
The Road to 2024: Qualifying and Participating
For master runners aiming to qualify for the 2024 World Marathon Majors Age Group Championships, the criteria are stringent yet inclusive. Athletes aged 40 and above can qualify either by meeting automatic times in qualifying races or ranking high enough in the Age Group World Rankings.
The qualifying standards span a wide range of age groups, acknowledging the diverse capabilities of master athletes.
One notable aspect of the 2024 championships is the inclusion of a virtual component. The AbbotWMM Global Marathon Fall 2023 offers a unique virtual challenge, where participants complete a marathon distance using approved devices or apps.
This virtual marathon provides an alternate path for runners worldwide to compete for a spot in the Age Group Championships.
While the inclusion of a non-binary division in the WMM age-group world championships is still under review, the event’s organisers remain committed to evaluating this aspect annually, ensuring that the marathon remains inclusive and reflective of the diverse running community.
The Sydney Marathon’s journey towards potentially becoming a World Marathon Major is not just a testament to its growing stature but also a reflection of the evolving landscape of global marathons.
As runners from across the world converge on Sydney’s picturesque course, the city stands at the cusp of entering an elite league, offering an unparalleled experience to athletes and spectators alike.
Sydney Marathon Emerging Legacy in the Running World
The Sydney Marathon’s bid to join the World Marathon Majors is a story of aspiration, commitment, and global community spirit.
As we await the final decision in 2025, the Sydney marathon continues to inspire and challenge runners, contributing significantly to the dynamic world of long-distance running.
Whether it becomes the next World Marathon Major or not, Sydney’s mark on the international marathon scene is indelibly etched, offering a unique blend of competitive spirit and cultural celebration.
What is the Sydney Marathon?
The Sydney Marathon is an annual long-distance running event held in Sydney, Australia, known for its scenic route and challenging course.
When is the Sydney Marathon usually held?
The Sydney Marathon typically takes place in September each year.
When is the Sydney Marathon 2024?
The 2024 Sydney Marathon will be held on Sunday, 15 September 2024. It starts at Bradfield Park, Milsons Point, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and finishes at the Sydney Opera House for the full and 10km marathons, and at the Royal Botanic Gardens for the half marathon and 3.5km family run.
Could the Sydney Marathon become a World Marathon Major?
The Sydney Marathon is a candidate for becoming a World Marathon Major, with a decision expected in 2025.
What makes the Sydney Marathon unique?
Its picturesque course through Sydney’s landmarks and its candidacy for the World Marathon Majors set it apart.
How can runners qualify for the World Marathon Majors Age Group Championships in Sydney?
Runners can qualify by meeting age-group specific standards in qualifying races or through the AbbottWMM Global Marathon virtual races.
What is the significance of the Six Star Medal in marathons?
The Six Star Medal is awarded to runners who complete all six races in the World Marathon Majors series, symbolizing a prestigious achievement in marathon running.
How many people have completed all six World Marathon Majors?
Over 8,000 runners from 104 countries have completed all six marathons in the series, earning the Six Star Medal.