I completed the Chicago Marathon on 7 October 2018. This is the third of the Abbotts World Marathon Majors series for me. I have completed Boston Marathon three times, Berlin Marathon twice before this.
Why did I complete the Boston Marathon thrice? It was because the lottery was harder to earn, since it is almost a random chance to get a assured spot. A spot in the Boston Marathon is earned through meeting Boston Qualifying (BQ) timings. Thus, runners around the world attempt their BQ in recognized international marathons. Certainly, there is a personal satisfaction to qualify from your hard-earned performance.
Today, some of the marathons in Marathon Majors – Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York City and Tokyo – include confirmed slots should you meet their qualifying times. These can be more stringent than the revised BQ timing established by the individual marathons. My qualifying time for my age group has been changed from 3:30:00 to 3:25:00. That means, I have to run a recognized marathon in 3 hours 24 minutes 59 seconds and faster, to be considered for a slot in the 2020 edition of 122-year-old marathon.
For confirmed slots outside of Boston Marathon, there are entry pathways that include charity or race travel packages (premium costs). Thus, you can enhance your chances to complete these ‘Big 6’ marathons at an accelerated manner. However, Boston Marathon remains the ‘holy grail’ race because of the stringent qualification. It is akin to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and UMTB for ultra-marathoners.
In addition, should you officially complete these marathons you will earn the distinction as a marathoner who has completed the World Majors. This is another badge of honour for the runner who aspires to complete this particular challenge across wide geography and stunning national landmarks. There are challenging marathon quests such as Seven Marathons Across Seven Continents In Seven Days, which puts the finisher in rare territory. It is analogous to the Seven Summits for serious mountain-climbers.
Each marathon is unique for its identity and character: prevailing climate, course design, hilliness, spectator support, public entertainment, aid-station offering, start/end locations, and much more. When choosing these races, it would make sense to follow up with a vacation, thereafter. One’s total race experience includes immersion into the tourism available.
Pick your race, earn a spot at the start-line, and enjoy the total experience capped by your hard-earned medal! You can read race reviews at @RaceAdvisors