Name the six greatest marathons in the world ? Easy ! It is the six Abbott World Marathon Majors, namely the Berlin, London, Tokyo, New York, Chicago and Boston Marathons. Every marathoneer on the Globe wishes to run and participate in these six races and for good reason: these events are the pinnacle of the marathon tradition for the everyday, recreational runner and they set the standard which all other marathons must try to follow. These six events are the fix stars on the marathon sky – and in 6 great cities as well.
I ran my first Major in Berlin in September 2004 just four months after my marathon debut in Copenhagen. I was completely overwhelmed by the experience and immediately grew a strong appetite for more marathons and, especially, Majors. The next Major became London in April 2005 and by October 2007 I had become a “Five Star Finisher” completing Chicago Marathon as the last of the five. Only a handful of Danes had completed the five Majors at that time, and most of them had traveled together with the Marathon Travel Club, the danish Tour Organizer for these famous events.
In November 2012 the Tokyo Marathon was added to the Major family and for several years I passively “followed” more and more friends visiting the race. “Really ?”, I thought, “Tokyo ?”. Come on ! Well, I had the honor to participate myself this year and boy, does Tokyo Marathon deliver ? It is an event out of this world and for sure a worthy and proud addition. You must see the report ! Just wow !
Thus, I became a Six Star Finisher and I have both a Diploma (click to enlarge)…
… and a huge collective Six Star Finisher Medal to prove it ! By the time of writing 2084 persons are registered as Six Star Finishers, 41 of these are from Denmark.
I have also my original race Diplomas and my pictures and reports from these events, and I thought I would sum it up here to provide some inspiration on these wonderful and absolutely fantastic events. I cannot encourage you enough to undertake the quest for these six World Marathon Majors !
Abbott World Marathon Majors – Race Reports by Tor Rønnow
In this section you find links to my race reports from all my Majors (12 in toto at the date of writing). The reports are given in Danish, however, if you paste in the URL into translate.google.com you can have them translated to any language you like. Give it a try, the reports open in a new Window/pane. Below of this section I provide picture samples from each of the races including a very short introduction to each event. Click on a picture to see it in large size (opens in a new Window/pane).
Berlin was my first Major and I fell in love with it right at the starting field , 40.000 runners in one huge line-up at “Unter den Linden” in Berlin and with TV and helicopters sweeping the air with magic. There were cheering spectators at every meter along the race course and the spectacular finish running through the Brandenburger Tor was just incredible. Berlin Marathon: You will make history in a city of World History.
As a non-British it is very difficult to get into the London Marathon, thus I am a very, very happy man to have participated three times. The route is not very representative of London City but does include highlights such as the passing of the Tower Bridge and the spectacular finish at The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. Personally, I find the last three miles and especially running by the Thames with Westminister Abbey and the Big Ben in the horisont to be the perhaps most intense miles of any marathon in the World.
New York City Marathon
Just to visit New York City is completely WOW, it is an amazing city with all the offerings you can wish for in one of the world’s biggest metropoles. So to run a marathon here and even through five boroughs, that is something quite extraordinary and memorable. I find the start at Staten Island crossing the Verrazano Bridge and the point just before arriving to Manhatten the first time to be THE gold moments on the route, however, hitting the crazy spectators on 1st Avenue and finishing off in Central Park are not bad stuff either. Go to New York and experience the biggest marathon in the World in the perhaps greatest city too. Oh, did I mention I ran in my Spiderman suit in 2011 ?
Boston Marathon is the oldest and possibly most prestigious marathon in the world. For North Americans this is THE only race on the planet: to qualify for Boston is the finest stamp you can get as a recreational runner. The route is a point-to-point thing and the 1 hour drive in the old, yellow school buses to the start in Hopkinton is a fun way to steer up the race-day expectations. Once running you immediately feel the class of the entire field, there is a flow that you just don’t get elsewhere. The route takes you through various small towns to begin with, the screaming girls at Wellesley College, the Heartbreak Hill and finally the finish on Boylston St. in the city center.
Chicago Marathon is flat, scenic and fun ! The city of Chicago has a lot to offer and the marathon itself is a classy event indeed. This is the race where I became a Five Star Finisher, it was a very special day not only because of that but also due to the fact that the race was partially suspended due to extremely high temperatures and several runners actually dying. Visit Chicago for this fine race and immerse yourself in the myths of Al Capone, Forrest Gump and Oprah Winfrey.
Tokyo Marathon is the perhaps most scenic of all the six Majors. It is also the event that is most “unusual” in it’s context: being in Japan is a very unique experience on many levels and you surely do feel a bit “Lost in Translation” at times, but who cares, people are extremely friendly and there is so much to see in this gigantic metropole, yes, just walking the streets is an experience in itself, especially at iconic places like the Shinjuku Station and the Shibuya Crossing. It is a long and expensive ride to Tokyo, it is, however, worth every penny ! This is where I became Six Start Finisher (February 2016) and I treasure this memory a lot.
That’s it. Go for the hunt of the Six World Marathon Majors !