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24 December 2018   |   Blog   |   

Our guide to the 2019 World Marathon Majors

With Six Marathons forming the series this is the ultimate challenge for those who want to experience an amazing achievement in fascinating cities. The Abbott World Marathon Majors include: Tokyo Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, The Boston Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon and the New York City Marathon.

With the exception of the London Marathon where we act as global partner to distribute entries to tour operators worldwide, Sports Tours International has guaranteed entry to all Marathon Majors for those requiring individual entries.

You can find a list of our World Marathon Majors packages here. 

If you would like to know a little more about the World Marathon Majors, take a look at our ‘look into the majors’ guide below:

Tokyo – The newcomer on the Marathon block

In 2013, the Tokyo marathon became the sixth race in the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Unlike the other five marathons in the World Marathon Majors, Tokyo Marathon started as a massive race from its very first year. Over 25,000 runners finished the first ever Tokyo Marathon in 2007. The 2018 Tokyo Marathon now had nearly 35,000 finishers emphasising how far the race has come since it received Abbott World Marathon Major Status.

The Tokyo Marathon has quite a flat course and it is extremely popular with runners from all around the globe. The course is like a sightseeing tour of Tokyo. Runners pass by tourist sites such as the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Asakusa and Ginza. With big crowds lining the streets, Taiko drums, kimono dancers, and brass bands it has a real festival like atmosphere. The Marathon starts at 09.10am and the time limit is 7 hours with checkpoints and cut off times en-route

The course starts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It drops about 120 feet in elevation during the first 5.6K. The finish moved to the Imperial Palace for in 2018.

Applications for the 2018 Tokyo Marathon drew over 330,000 applicants which equates to nearly 90% of people who apply won’t get an entry.

Find out more here 

Summary

Location: Tokyo
Date: 3 March 2019
Male course record: 2:03:58 (2017) Wilson Kipsang
Female course record: 2:19:47 (2017) Sarah Chepchirchir

Course profile:

Starts with a drop of around 37 meters (120ft) in the first 5.6km (3.5 miles), then flattens out. A few minor hills later in the race. A fair amount of turns

Entry availability:

36,000 places. Free to register, and a lottery system to pick entrants. Less than a 10% chance though. As in 2013, 303,450 people registered and the cap was 25,000.

Unfortunately our packages have already sold out for 2019.

Tokyo Marathon

Boston – The world’s oldest marathon

Boston is the world’s oldest annual marathon which started in 1897. This is the place where 19-year-old Katherine Switzer changed the rules. She is best known for being the first woman to take part in the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry, in 1967.

The Marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston has been around as long as the modern Olympics. Both the start and finish lines have been changed over the years but much of the original course remains exactly the same as it was originally designed. Since 1924 the start has been in the quaint suburban town of Hopkinton. The route is sharply downhill until around the 25km mark. From there runners face 3 tough climbs which are rounded off by the infamous ‘Heart Break Hill’. After this, it is more or less downhill until the finish in the heart of Boston.

Find out more here 

Summary:

Location: Boston
Date: 15 April 2019
Male Course record: 2:03:02(2011) Geoffrey Mutai
Female Course record: Women: 2:19:59 (2014) Buzunesh Deba

Course profile:

A point-to-point course with a considerable overall elevation drop of 104 meters (480ft). It’s not eligible for a world record under IAAF rules, but gives you excellent PB potential.

Entry availability:

Participants have to meet a qualifying standard. However this time does not guarantee entry: the fastest are accepted first until places are full. Unfortunately our packages have already sold out for 2019.

Boston Start PictureBoston Finish Picture

London Marathon – The experience of a lifetime

Since its first event in 1981, the London Marathon has developed a reputation for its fast, record setting course. The marathon was founded by former Olympic champion Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley and is organised by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris). The marathon is set largely around the River Thames and begins at three separate points around Blackheath and finishes on the Mall alongside St James`s Park. A record total of 247,069 people entered the ballot for the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon and the organisers expect approximately 38,000 runners to line up on the start line on Sunday 24th April.

The course has a big drop between miles three and four, apart from that it is pretty much flat. Although fairly twisty through miles 14 and 21.

Find out more here 

Summary:

Location: London
Date: 28 April 2019
Course records: Men: 2:03:05 (2016) Eliud Kipchoge
Women: 2:15:25 (2003) Paula Radcliffe

Course profile:

The start lines in Blackheath and Greenwich are undulating for 2.9miles. Just before mile 3 runners start to merge. The route then descends for about half a mile. The course then undulates gently until the finish line in the Mall.

Entry availability:

Through the ballot system or through a nominated charity. Sports Tours International offer a hotel and race day transfer for anybody who has a ballot place.

Berlin Marathon – The World record holder

The Berlin marathon started in the Grunewald forest in 1974 and moved to West Berlin in 1981. The most world records have been set on the streets of Berlin. Set in this beautiful city, it’s easy to see why the Berlin is one of the 6 World Marathon Majors.

The Berlin Marathon is famous for being flat and fast. Whether you are running your first marathon or you are a seasoned runner, Berlin is the marathon to achieve a personal best. 2018 saw the World Record being smashed in Berlin yet again, as the Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge produced an unbelievable 2:01:39.

The marathon starts and finishes on Strasse des 17. You initially run past the magnificent Angel of Peace statue and through the Tier-garten district before continuing past the Reichstag at 7Km and the Berliner Dom at 9Km. The field begins to spread out and the race begins to move along quickly where you can start picking up speed and pace at 12Km as you pass the lovely fountain at Strausberger Platz.

The crowds continue to pick up as does the noise, and it’s all supplemented with more than 60 bands lining the route. The course is one big sightseeing loop through one of the most exciting cities in the world. The vibe and atmosphere is fantastic and it’s clear why Berlin Marathon sells out well before the entry deadline every year.

Find out more here.

Summary:

Location: Berlin
Date: 29 September 2019
Male Course record: 2:01:39 WR (2018) Eliud Kipchoge
Female Course record 2:18:11 (2018) Gladys Cherono

Course profile:

Flat and fast, but with enough turns to keep it interesting. It is the world record course for a reason.

Entry availability:

Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Click here. 

Chicago Marathon – Flat as a pancake

Since the first Chicago Marathon took place back in 1977, the numbers of runners have massively increased from 4,200 to 45,000. The race has always been one of the largest marathon road races in the world. The limit of 45,000 registered entrants is usually reached as early as 6 months before race day.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. Runners from 50 states and more than 100 countries, set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The course has produced four world records, several national records, and countless personal bests.

The marathon is one of the many city marathons that boasts a fast and flat course with no major hills. The course starts in Grant Park by Lake Michigan and from here runners go through the neighbourhoods of northern Chicago, all the way to the South side before it returns to Grant Park. Marathoners are taken on a colourful journey through the many sides of Chicago. Click here for more details:

Find out more here.

Summary:

Location: Chicago
Date:13 October 2019
Male Course record: Men 2:03:45 (2013) Dennis Kimetto
Female Course record 2:17:18 (2002) Paula Radcliffe

Course profile:

A fast and flat course on the shores of Lake Michigan. With its pancake flat course, it is one of the fastest courses in the world. Find out more here.

Entry availability:

Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Click here for more details: Chicago Marathon

 

New York City Marathon – The big one

The TCS New York City Marathon is the most popular and diverse marathon in the world. The marathon attracts some of the world`s top athletes and an extensive range of recreational runners. The race began back in 1970 with just 127 competitors and cost just $1.

The New York marathon is one of the most exciting races on the calendar and a bucket list event for many runners. It doesn’t disappoint. The sights & sounds of the city that never sleeps make this such an exciting venue. The tranquility of Central Park in Midtown Manhattan also gives running visitors an unique experience.

The marathon starts on Staten Island, at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Fort Wadsworth. Runners continue north in Brooklyn down Third and Fourth avenues, through Sunset Park and Park Slope. Once you have reached the intersection of Lafayette Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, the route leads through Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The race then continues north on First Avenue, passing through the Upper East Side. In the Bronx at mile 21 runners loop back down Fifth Avenue and onwards to the finish line at Central Park.

Find out more here.

Summary:

Location: New York City
Date: 3 November 2019
Male Course record: 2:05:05 (2011) Geoffrey Mutai

Course profile:
Women 2:22:31 (2003) Margaret Okayo

A point-to-point course which travels through all five boroughs of New York. There are hills throughout and these are largely in the form of bridges.

Entry availability:

50,000 places. Entry through the ballot system. Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Find out more here.

With Six Marathons forming the series this is the ultimate challenge for those who want to experience an amazing achievement in fascinating cities. The Abbott World Marathon Majors include: Tokyo Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, The Boston Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon and the New York City Marathon.

With the exception of the London Marathon where we act as global partner to distribute entries to tour operators worldwide, Sports Tours International has guaranteed entry to all Marathon Majors for those requiring individual entries.

You can find a list of our World Marathon Majors packages here. 

If you would like to know a little more about the World Marathon Majors, take a look at our ‘look into the majors’ guide below:

Tokyo – The newcomer on the Marathon block

In 2013, the Tokyo marathon became the sixth race in the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Unlike the other five marathons in the World Marathon Majors, Tokyo Marathon started as a massive race from its very first year. Over 25,000 runners finished the first ever Tokyo Marathon in 2007. The 2018 Tokyo Marathon now had nearly 35,000 finishers emphasising how far the race has come since it received Abbott World Marathon Major Status.

The Tokyo Marathon has quite a flat course and it is extremely popular with runners from all around the globe. The course is like a sightseeing tour of Tokyo. Runners pass by tourist sites such as the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Asakusa and Ginza. With big crowds lining the streets, Taiko drums, kimono dancers, and brass bands it has a real festival like atmosphere. The Marathon starts at 09.10am and the time limit is 7 hours with checkpoints and cut off times en-route

The course starts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It drops about 120 feet in elevation during the first 5.6K. The finish moved to the Imperial Palace for in 2018.

Applications for the 2018 Tokyo Marathon drew over 330,000 applicants which equates to nearly 90% of people who apply won’t get an entry.

Find out more here 

Summary

Location: Tokyo
Date: 3 March 2019
Male course record: 2:03:58 (2017) Wilson Kipsang
Female course record: 2:19:47 (2017) Sarah Chepchirchir

Course profile:

Starts with a drop of around 37 meters (120ft) in the first 5.6km (3.5 miles), then flattens out. A few minor hills later in the race. A fair amount of turns

Entry availability:

36,000 places. Free to register, and a lottery system to pick entrants. Less than a 10% chance though. As in 2013, 303,450 people registered and the cap was 25,000.

Unfortunately our packages have already sold out for 2019.

Tokyo Marathon

Boston – The world’s oldest marathon

Boston is the world’s oldest annual marathon which started in 1897. This is the place where 19-year-old Katherine Switzer changed the rules. She is best known for being the first woman to take part in the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry, in 1967.

The Marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston has been around as long as the modern Olympics. Both the start and finish lines have been changed over the years but much of the original course remains exactly the same as it was originally designed. Since 1924 the start has been in the quaint suburban town of Hopkinton. The route is sharply downhill until around the 25km mark. From there runners face 3 tough climbs which are rounded off by the infamous ‘Heart Break Hill’. After this, it is more or less downhill until the finish in the heart of Boston.

Find out more here 

Summary:

Location: Boston
Date: 15 April 2019
Male Course record: 2:03:02(2011) Geoffrey Mutai
Female Course record: Women: 2:19:59 (2014) Buzunesh Deba

Course profile:

A point-to-point course with a considerable overall elevation drop of 104 meters (480ft). It’s not eligible for a world record under IAAF rules, but gives you excellent PB potential.

Entry availability:

Participants have to meet a qualifying standard. However this time does not guarantee entry: the fastest are accepted first until places are full. Unfortunately our packages have already sold out for 2019.

Boston Start PictureBoston Finish Picture

London Marathon – The experience of a lifetime

Since its first event in 1981, the London Marathon has developed a reputation for its fast, record setting course. The marathon was founded by former Olympic champion Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley and is organised by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris). The marathon is set largely around the River Thames and begins at three separate points around Blackheath and finishes on the Mall alongside St James`s Park. A record total of 247,069 people entered the ballot for the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon and the organisers expect approximately 38,000 runners to line up on the start line on Sunday 24th April.

The course has a big drop between miles three and four, apart from that it is pretty much flat. Although fairly twisty through miles 14 and 21.

Find out more here 

Summary:

Location: London
Date: 28 April 2019
Course records: Men: 2:03:05 (2016) Eliud Kipchoge
Women: 2:15:25 (2003) Paula Radcliffe

Course profile:

The start lines in Blackheath and Greenwich are undulating for 2.9miles. Just before mile 3 runners start to merge. The route then descends for about half a mile. The course then undulates gently until the finish line in the Mall.

Entry availability:

Through the ballot system or through a nominated charity. Sports Tours International offer a hotel and race day transfer for anybody who has a ballot place.

Berlin Marathon – The World record holder

The Berlin marathon started in the Grunewald forest in 1974 and moved to West Berlin in 1981. The most world records have been set on the streets of Berlin. Set in this beautiful city, it’s easy to see why the Berlin is one of the 6 World Marathon Majors.

The Berlin Marathon is famous for being flat and fast. Whether you are running your first marathon or you are a seasoned runner, Berlin is the marathon to achieve a personal best. 2018 saw the World Record being smashed in Berlin yet again, as the Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge produced an unbelievable 2:01:39.

The marathon starts and finishes on Strasse des 17. You initially run past the magnificent Angel of Peace statue and through the Tier-garten district before continuing past the Reichstag at 7Km and the Berliner Dom at 9Km. The field begins to spread out and the race begins to move along quickly where you can start picking up speed and pace at 12Km as you pass the lovely fountain at Strausberger Platz.

The crowds continue to pick up as does the noise, and it’s all supplemented with more than 60 bands lining the route. The course is one big sightseeing loop through one of the most exciting cities in the world. The vibe and atmosphere is fantastic and it’s clear why Berlin Marathon sells out well before the entry deadline every year.

Find out more here.

Summary:

Location: Berlin
Date: 29 September 2019
Male Course record: 2:01:39 WR (2018) Eliud Kipchoge
Female Course record 2:18:11 (2018) Gladys Cherono

Course profile:

Flat and fast, but with enough turns to keep it interesting. It is the world record course for a reason.

Entry availability:

Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Click here. 

Chicago Marathon – Flat as a pancake

Since the first Chicago Marathon took place back in 1977, the numbers of runners have massively increased from 4,200 to 45,000. The race has always been one of the largest marathon road races in the world. The limit of 45,000 registered entrants is usually reached as early as 6 months before race day.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. Runners from 50 states and more than 100 countries, set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The course has produced four world records, several national records, and countless personal bests.

The marathon is one of the many city marathons that boasts a fast and flat course with no major hills. The course starts in Grant Park by Lake Michigan and from here runners go through the neighbourhoods of northern Chicago, all the way to the South side before it returns to Grant Park. Marathoners are taken on a colourful journey through the many sides of Chicago. Click here for more details:

Find out more here.

Summary:

Location: Chicago
Date:13 October 2019
Male Course record: Men 2:03:45 (2013) Dennis Kimetto
Female Course record 2:17:18 (2002) Paula Radcliffe

Course profile:

A fast and flat course on the shores of Lake Michigan. With its pancake flat course, it is one of the fastest courses in the world. Find out more here.

Entry availability:

Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Click here for more details: Chicago Marathon

 

New York City Marathon – The big one

The TCS New York City Marathon is the most popular and diverse marathon in the world. The marathon attracts some of the world`s top athletes and an extensive range of recreational runners. The race began back in 1970 with just 127 competitors and cost just $1.

The New York marathon is one of the most exciting races on the calendar and a bucket list event for many runners. It doesn’t disappoint. The sights & sounds of the city that never sleeps make this such an exciting venue. The tranquility of Central Park in Midtown Manhattan also gives running visitors an unique experience.

The marathon starts on Staten Island, at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Fort Wadsworth. Runners continue north in Brooklyn down Third and Fourth avenues, through Sunset Park and Park Slope. Once you have reached the intersection of Lafayette Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, the route leads through Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The race then continues north on First Avenue, passing through the Upper East Side. In the Bronx at mile 21 runners loop back down Fifth Avenue and onwards to the finish line at Central Park.

Find out more here.

Summary:

Location: New York City
Date: 3 November 2019
Male Course record: 2:05:05 (2011) Geoffrey Mutai

Course profile:
Women 2:22:31 (2003) Margaret Okayo

A point-to-point course which travels through all five boroughs of New York. There are hills throughout and these are largely in the form of bridges.

Entry availability:

50,000 places. Entry through the ballot system. Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Find out more here.

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