An announcement in the RunningUSA.org update email, coming from Abbott World Marathon Majors, includes exciting new for marathon runners of all ages. The item, “Abbott World Marathon Majors Announces Wanda Age Group Ranking System and Championships,” outlines in detail the age groups and dates and locations of races that will generate qualifiers who will participate in the first World Championships in the spring of 2020. Age groups cover men and women from age 40-80+.
It seems as though the effort has been made possible through the partnership of AbbottWMM and the Dalian Wanda Group that was announced in late April 2017. At that time, the reported result of the deal was to bring three major marathon events to Asia within the next 10 years, according to an item in SportsBusinessDaily.com. One event would be in a “yet-to-be-decided marathon in a first-tier Chinese city.”
For those of you not familiar with the AbbottWMM, it “is a Series consisting of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world”, taking place in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. The best athletes in the world can therefore compete in the series as well as the sport’s global championship events to earn points.
The point system allows determination of the “world’s best male and female marathon runners.” When the Series began in 2006 athletes accrued points over a two-year period. In 2015, the format was changed to a one-year cycle; a point system for elite wheelchair athletes was added in 2016.
Non-elite runners, called “Everyday Champions” can also receive recognition in the AbbottWMM. Those who complete all races are honored by as “Six Star Finishers”. They receive a certificate and a medal. The medals are a new part of the glory; they were first awarded in 2016. According to an article in running.competitor.com, earning bragging rights to this accomplishment is not easy or inexpensive.
“More than 200,000 people run the marathon major races every year, yet in the past 10 years only about 600 people have run them all.” So says David Mark, the inaugural ceremonial male recipient of the medal, from Chicago IL, an Abbott executive. “It’s a pretty exclusive club and I’m excited there is now a medal to mark the accomplishment.”
The first female recipient honored with the medal, Barbara Fleming-Owens from Canfield, Ireland, says it cost her roughly $14,000 (10,00 British pounds) in expenses (fees, travel, and gear, etc) over the years she spent qualifying for, then running the marathons.
For those interested in qualifying, the RunningUSA.org article has a detailed listing of events in 2018 through 2019. As of November 15, 2017 the first event is Berlin on September 17, 2018.
If you're interested in completing a customized world marathon series, Earned Runs bibs can help with that!
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