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:
In 2013, Tokyo joined as a sixth race to 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 Tokyo Marathon in 2007. Five years on and nearly 36,000 runners started the race.
The Tokyo Marathon has generally 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 crowd support, Taiko drums, kimono dancers, and brass bands it has a festival 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 2015 Tokyo Marathon drew over 304,825 applicants. This equates to an oversubscription rate of 10.6 times.
Date: 24 February 2018
Male course record: 2:05:42 (Dickson Chumba, KEN, 2014)
Female course record: 2:22:23 (Tirfi Tsegaye, ETH, 2014)
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
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. Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International – More Information or join our 2019 waitlist – Tokyo 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.
Date: 16 April 2018
Male Course record: 2hr 3min 2sec (Geoffrey Mutai, 2011)
Female Course record: 2hr 18min 57sec (Rita Jeptoo, 2014)
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.
Participants have to meet a qualifying standard. However this time does not guarantee entry: the fastest are accepted first until places are full. Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International and you do not need a qualifying time when booking through us but interest is high so you may need to join our waitlist. Click here for more details: The Boston Marathon
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.
Date: 22 April 2018
Course records: Men: 2:04:29 Wilson Kipsang
Women: 2:15:25 Paula Radcliffe
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.
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.
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. Over recent years the Berlin Marathon has provided nine world records, with Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich running 2.03.23 at Berlin 2014 to hold the current world record.
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.
Date: 16 September 2018
Male Course record: 2:02:57 (2014, WR) Dennis Kipruto Kimetto
Female Course record 2:19:12 (2005) Mizuki Noguchi
Flat and fast, but with enough turns to keep it interesting. It is the world record course for a reason.
74,707 entered the ballot in 2014. The limit of participants remains at 40,000.
Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Click here.
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:
Date: 7 October 2018
Male Course record: Men 2:03:45 (Dennis Kimetto)
Female Course record 2:17:18 (Paula Radcliffe)
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.
45,000 places. In 2015 around 71,040 runners applied to through the lottery system. Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Tours International. Click here for more details: Chicago Marathon
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 must-do event for many with it high on up on every runners bucket list. 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 a 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.
Location: New York City
Date: 4 November 2018
Male Course record: 2:05:06 (Geoffrey Mutai)
Women 2:22:31 (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.
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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