words: Danny Coyle & David Macnamara

The 2023 Tokyo Marathon is going to be special event for a number of reasons.

This year marks the first time the race is back up to its full capacity since 2019, with overseas runners making their return for the first time since that 2019 edition.

As a result of the international travel regulations that have been in place since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of runners waiting to run Tokyo to complete their Six Star journey has also been stacking up.

That leads to another unique feature of the race on March 5, where an official Guinness World Record will be set for Six Star Finishers at a single marathon. It’s expected that over 3,000 runners will toe the start line in a bid to earn that famous Six Star medal.

The previous highest total was 732 in Tokyo in 2019.

And it’s thanks to that incredible number of Six Star Hopefuls heading for the Japanese capital that Tokyo 2023 will also see another milestone reached for the Abbott World Marathon Majors, as we surpass the 10,000 mark for the total number of Six Star Finishers on record.

To celebrate the moment, we have identified 10 stories from the hopeful runners traveling to Tokyo.

Welcome to the 10 for 10k.


They have trained and travelled the world together. Just Tokyo remains.

The town of Tubbercurry in County Sligo is a short journey from the west coast of Ireland and the wild roar of the North Atlantic.

It’s a part of the world that can summon up the sort of weather that forges sturdy people. The kind who can endure the type of challenge that requires a certain amount of fortitude.

Sisters Alma McClorey and Petrina Edwards fit the bill.

Having grown up in the town and now both living in Athboy, County Meath, with two children each, they both got into running through a couch to 5k program eight years ago.

"We both looked at each other and said, ‘that sounds like a good idea!’

It was Petrina who took the first step on her Six Star journey, and in doing so, lit a flame under her sister. 

“In 2017 Petrina was running Chicago and I went with her for support,” says Alma.

“At the Expo was the first time we heard of the Six Star medal! Once someone told us about it, we looked at each other and said, ‘that sounds like a good idea!’”

Petrina knocked off Chicago before completing London in 2018 in searing heat, and Alma joined her for New York City later that year. Alma then plundered three stars in 2019, completing London before they both ran Berlin, and Alma completed Chicago just two weeks later.

“That was a test of resilience and determination,” says Petrina. “Berlin was good as we both got PBs there that day.

“London was the hottest on record so that was an experience, just trying to keep hydrated, and then the Royal Prince Louis was born the day after, and Alma made Sky TV News with her front row viewing seat outside the hospital wearing her marathon medal!”

But it’s Boston 2022 that has so far left the pair with the fondest memories of a journey that has reached its climax in a relatively quick time span.

"We agreed that Boston in 2022 was the best experience,” says Alma. 

“We had great friends from Ireland over supporting us for the weekend and the crowds out in Boston were amazing. Turning onto Boylston still gives us Goosebumps when we think of it.”

Having originally planned to run Tokyo in 2020, it took some of that west of Ireland grit to overcome the disappointment felt by so many on their Six Star journey. 

“Two weeks before we were due to fly out to Tokyo in 2020 it was cancelled, says Alma. “We were both devastated and particularly Petrina who was due to get her sixth star.

“We’d both trained very hard that winter on cold wet nights on country roads in Ireland.  It wasn’t easy to pick ourselves back up again and keep motivated, but things worked out in the end and we are both getting our Six Star medal together in Tokyo so it’s a happy ending hopefully!” 

Alma and Petrina are running for The Gavin Glynn Foundation and the Children's Health Foundation


He has been on his Six Star Journey since 2016 but, just before his final step in Tokyo, Joerg Peters decided to do something amazing 

The marathon-running community is full of inspiring people. That’s what makes it such a powerful family. We hear from lots of them with stories that simply wouldn’t come from any other walk of life.

When Joerg Peters’ email landed in our inbox, he was every inch the inspiring kind of person we are so proud to call one of our own. 

Joerg’s Six Star Journey has been fast in more ways than one. After beginning with the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2016, he kept coming back to that race.  

An impressive 2:47 there at his fourth attempt in 2019 carved almost an hour of his first time in the German capital, and he has since rattled through the other four races, with that time also earning him the coveted Boston Qualifier status. 

For Joerg, an engineer in water & wastewater treatment for the chemical industry, it was his BQ achievement in Berlin that set him on his way towards the Six Star Medal. 

“A friend told me about the Six Star medal, and that I was qualified for the Boston Marathon. It’s (Boston) always been for me the one, as you have to run a BQ, and in order to get this qualification you have to invest a lot.” 

The 43-year-old completed the famous old course in 3:09 in 2019, and ran New York City the same year before London in 2021 and Chicago in 2022. He also went back to Boston in 2022 and smashed his course PB there by nearly 12 minutes. 

A fast runner cutting a fast swathe through the Majors.  

So far, so good.  

But like many endurance athletes, one huge challenge isn’t enough. For Joerg there was another tough task to set himself, and this one could have derailed his Six Star plans entirely. 

After enduring the pandemic that delayed so many Six Star dreams, a place in Tokyo was finally secured for 2023. Then the call came last summer that he had been matched to someone in need of a stem cell donation. 

“I was a long-time blood donor, and years ago I applied for the stem cell bank as well,” he says.  

“In June 2022 they first contacted me to say that I may be a match for somebody in need. I didn't have any doubt for a second.” 

Following some further tests to confirm a full match, Joerg was chosen.  

“It’s a feeling I cannot describe,” he says. “So many things are going through your head when you can hopefully save somebody's life - even if you don’t know the person.” 

But it also meant that training would be heavily impacted for his sixth star. The donation was scheduled for January. 

“Five days before the stem cell donation, I had to perform an injection myself to ‘activate my stem cells into the blood’ twice a day. I couldn’t train from this point as it had a huge impact to my body including fatigue, dizziness and joint pain.” 

The stem cell donation process itself was OK, says Joerg, who underwent what he describes as “around five hours at a blood washing machine to take out around 500ml of stem cells.” 

Afterwards, running was off the agenda for three weeks. 

“I felt really sleepy all the time, with joint pain and a high heart rate, and organs like my spleen had gotten bigger, which is normal after stem cell donation. 

 “All in all, I had trained well before the process and then again in the last four weeks before Tokyo. Compared to my normal training process, of course, that’s not good at all, but the finish time for me is not important if I have saved a life!” 

Following the donation, Joerg learned that his stem cells had gone to somebody in Great Britain, a male in his 30s. 

“I was allowed after the donation to send an anonymous letter to him. Last week I received his anonymous answer and at that moment I had some tears in my eyes.” 

On March 5, Joerg will run Tokyo with his wife Nicole, who is also aiming for her Six Star medal there.  

Their celebrations will be well-deserved and, just perhaps, someone enjoying a leisurely drink somewhere in the UK will be unknowingly raising a glass to them too.  


Manal Rostom is leading the way for Egyptians to follow in her footsteps – and those footsteps are taking her to another tough challenge

A former pharmacist, Egyptian-born Manal Rostom now resides in Dubai and lives and breathes running and healthy living – working as a fitness instructor, public speaker, health and wellness influencer, personal trainer and Nike Running Ambassador. This single lady is passionate, driven and committed to being a positive role model in any way she can. 

When did the Six Star medal become a real target for you? 
I first learnt about the New York City Marathon in 2017, the same year Nike launched their first ever performance Hijab. I fantasized about running an international marathon in it and had my eyes obviously set on New York. In November 2017 I ran with the Back on My Feet Charity there, becoming the first Hijabi to run an international race in the Nike Pro Hijab. 

Which race of the five so far has been your favorite? 
I keep going back and forth between London and New York City. I loved them both equally and would run them again. Perhaps London a tad more than New York! 

What advice would you give someone thinking of going for a Six Star medal? 
You can do it! International runners can sometimes place limitations on themselves by thinking about things like registration, visas, qualification and forgetting the many other options they have to enter the race. 

Set yourself a goal of finishing all six, decide on whether you want to run for charity, qualify or find a travel agency and just do it. People will always place roadblocks in your way but if you’re passionate enough, you will make it happen. 

Was there ever a point when you thought “I’m not going to be able to do this?” 
March 2020, when the pandemic hit, was the most heart-breaking month when we all learned that Tokyo was closed for international runners, only for Japan to remain closed for three consecutive years.

I was set to finish all six Abbott World Marathon Majors in March 2020 since I was already registered to run Tokyo back then, but everything happens for a reason, and everything happens in due time. I did come close to giving up on the entire journey when Japan remained closed for some time. But here we are! Just days away from the runner’s ultimate dream. 

"People will always place roadblocks in your way but if you’re passionate enough, you will make it happen."

Are there any lessons you’ve taken into your daily life that you’ve learned on your Six Star journey? 
Enjoy it , don’t rush it. Try to enjoy the journey as much as you can. I became obsessed with completing all six ASAP and I made the horrible mistake of running on injury (In Boston, Berlin and Chicago I ran while in pain due to my Achilles tendinitis) and where I always advocate listening to your body while running, I failed myself by chasing a dream harder and faster than my ability to listen to my body.  So, if I would start all over again, I would prioritize taking time off to recover and enjoy every city as much as possible. 

Now that you’ve almost reached your Six Star goal, what is next for you? 
The saddest part about this is that the journey is coming to an end. I don’t think there’s a more glorious challenge but I’m sure once I’m holding the medal in my hand, something might pop up in my head. I once said that my ultimate dream is to finish the six Majors and climb the  seven highest mountains on every continent. I think for now, with four more peaks out of the seven (to climb), I will divert my energy, time and money to completing the seven-summit challenge. So far I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Everest and now my eyes are set on Denali, Aconcagua, Vinson & Kosciusko. 


Thomas Eller is aiming to become the world’s first deaf-born Six Star Finisher in Tokyo 

The city of Essen in western Germany is often referred to as the country’s energy capital. Two giant energy companies call it home and it is the former site of a large coal mining operation.  

It will lay claim to a new title following the 2023 Tokyo Marathon, when it will be able to boast the world’s first deaf-born Six Star Finisher as one of its own. 

One of the great draws of the Abbott World Marathon Majors is the raucous cacophony created by the crowds and entertainment that flank almost every step of the six races’ routes. 

It’s a unique feature to the Majors, and it’s a feature entirely absent from the experience for 43-year-old Thomas Eller, a teacher at a deaf school in his hometown, and a man on a mission to prove to other members of the worldwide deaf community that they can achieve their dreams. 

“I love my job,” he says. “Every time I enter the school, my deaf pupils have sparkles in their eyes and they see me as their ‘deaf role model’. I am also deaf and I know how they feel.  

“Most of them struggle with communication barriers and are afraid about what life will bring for them being deaf. I try to make them strong for their adult life. I tell them about my childhood, problems with being deaf and how to solve the problems. I feel for them and they need more deaf role models in their life.”  

This outlook is what drove Thomas to take up marathon running.  

He chose a tough place to start, laboring through the desert in Petra for his 26.2-mile debut in September 2018.

He completed Cologne the following month, then ran an eye-watering 11 marathons in 2019, including London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City, to set him up for a spring 2020 finish to his Six Star journey. 

When Thomas first contacted AbbottWMM to share his story, it was the first week of January 2020. He was all set to run Tokyo for star No. 5 and then Boston that same year to complete his journey. 

With those plans torn to shreds by the pandemic, it would not be until October 2021 that he would earn star No. 5 in Boston, meaning Tokyo was all that was left between him and the Six Star medal he had promised to bring back to school.  

“I ran a lot of marathons outside of Europe, met lots of other deaf passionate runners and when coming back, I always tell my deaf pupils about my experiences I have had,” he says.  

“They are happy with me, always hug me when I return from a marathon and are so proud of my achievements. Some of them told their parents, families and friends that they just want to be like me when they grow up.  

“So many parents come to me and say that I am a big inspiration for them and their kids. Running a marathon gives you the feeling to be equal with others - no matter which disability, race or sex you have.

"Being deaf doesn’t stop you from running and making international connections with other passionate runners. Communication barriers always exist in our brains but if you are tough they won’t exist.” 


Regina Fleming fell in love with running, and wants her own Six Star journey to inspire many more women like her

It was 2015 when New York native Regina Fleming’s running career began with a blissfully unaware decision to sign up for a race.  

A magazine advert displaying crowds of happy women clad in her favorite color was enough to encourage her to take the plunge. 

What she didn’t realise was that she was about to make her racing debut in a half marathon, and that her friend who had agreed to join her had actually not signed up at all. 

“I thought it was going to be like a walkathon. These women looked like they were having fun. I'd never run in my life. I knew nothing,” says the photography studio owner from Harlem. 

After discovering some long-ignored emails from the race in her inbox, she realised she was about to take on 13.1 miles.  

She was going to need some shoes. 

“I went to the store and they laughed at me because I had these old sneakers. So I got the new sneakers and I just ran on my treadmill for nine days. On the 10th day, I ran the race.  

“I was so new, I didn't know you could walk during the race. I didn't even know that you were supposed to drink water. I knew nothing and I finished in around two hours. I didn't even know you got a medal. So when they put the medal on, that was it. I was bitten by the medal bug.” 

The next snap decision? “I said, ‘Well, I'm gonna run a marathon’.”

And so she did. Later that same year she completed New York City in 5:44, and came back for more the following year, although with severe back pain, it would take her seven hours and 15 minutes – and a steely determination – to reach the finish line in Central Park. 

“I was in such pain that I felt like I was giving birth, and I gave birth to a new way of how I approach life.” 

New York was conquered again in 2017 and 2018, and that was the year she found out about the Six Star medal. 

In 2019, she completed the autumn triple header of Berlin, Chicago and New York to progress to three stars, and then was due to finish the next three the following spring. 

“I would have finished all of them in eight months.”  

Which, of course, was not to be. 

Instead, Boston and London were completed in the autumn of 2021, and another New York City was thrown in to make it three in 34 days for good measure, leaving just Tokyo to run.  

It was a journey that began without an ounce of knowledge, but ends with a person transformed, who now runs with a crown and ‘Regina the Queen’ emblazoned on her shirt.  

And she is already planning to pass that power of the marathon on. Regina is now a certified fitness, running and holistic coach, with plans to start her own brand to show women over 40 – and she has heard from a lot of them – just what they can achieve if they apply themselves. 

“I have had so many messages through social media from women asking ‘how do I start?’  So it's turning into a business. I want to have a conference, I want to have retreats, I want to have my own 5K. If they run-walk a 5K it could change their life.” 

As well as becoming a Six Star Finisher on a record-setting day in Tokyo, Regina will also be a part of the largest contingent of African American runners to join the Six Star Hall of Fame in a single race. As an under-represented group on the start lines of many races, it’s something she is proud of. 

"I think that representation has always been the answer to a lot of things. Because when we see it, we believe we can be it."

Having begun her journey in her home neighborhood of Harlem, surrounded by other black runners from the Harlem Run group, she felt a sense of unease at just how few African American faces she would see when she attended a race. 

“I’d see like two people, four people, six people, and it kept happening over and over again. And I just wondered why we weren't there and why we weren't represented.” 

It was uplifting, then when she discovered the Black Unicorns – an organization that champions black participation in the Boston Marathon. The chance to get together and celebrate her community’s involvement in these huge events is now something she is incredibly fond of. 

“In Berlin in 2019, we met at 5:30am in front of the Brandenburg Gate. It was the most black people I've ever seen at a race in my life. And it's a sense of pride. Even when I run and I see another black woman or black man on the side lines, they give me the nod, like, ‘Yes’.  

“It's just great to, to be recognized, to be seen. Sometimes you feel like you're not seen, or if you are seen you're seen for the wrong reasons, so it feels good to have other people who are like, ‘Yes, we can do this’. 

“I think that representation has always been the answer to a lot of things. Because when we see it, we believe we can be it.” 

For Regina the Queen, the mantra on the Tokyo start line will be: “Queen, you got this. I'm giving it every everything I have.” 

And there will be only one way to celebrate when she finally gets to call herself a Six Star Finisher.  

“I'm giving myself a Six Star party, she says. “I'm going to have a cake that looks like the medal, everybody's going to come in running clothes, I'm having personalized bibs made for everyone, and everybody is going to get a medal.” 

It sounds like a party not to be missed. 


Salman Khan will become
the world’s first Pakistani Six Star Finisher when he crosses the line in Tokyo

When did the Six Star medal become a real target for you? 
Right after I qualified and ran the Boston Marathon, I just knew that I had to go for the Six Star medal.   

Which race of the five so far has been your favorite? 
Hard to name one as each of the five races that I have done had something amazing to offer. But Boston is one that I would like to do every year. This is the race where I get to see all people from around the world. 

Was there ever a point when you thought “I’m not going to be able to do this?” 
Never. Though I was lucky that I qualified for Boston early in my journey and then I got invited for the Age Group World Championships in London. Without these two I may have had some second thoughts.   

What advice would you give someone thinking of going for a Six Star medal? 
Be yourself and enjoy your running. Stay consistent and believe in yourself and you will get your Six Star medal.   

"It means a lot to me and my country as I would be the first Pakistani to achieve this milestone. I am looking forward to crossing the finish line and helping to motivate my other countrymen to do this."

Are there any lessons you’ve taken into your daily life that you’ve learned on your Six Star journey? 
Stay consistent and believe in yourself in whatever you do. Nothing is impossible.   

Now that you’ve almost reached your Six Star goal, what is next for you? 
It means a lot to me and my country as I would be the first Pakistani to achieve this milestone. I am looking forward to crossing the finish line and helping to motivate other countrymen to do this. I have loved the Abbott World Marathon Majors so much that I don't see myself running anything else. I’m running Boston, Chicago and hopefully New York City in 2023. I would love to get into the Paris Olympic Marathon 2024 if possible.   


Liz Borrett will become the world’s oldest female Six Star Finisher on record in Tokyo. Meet the woman who only began running in her sixties. 

“I did my last long run yesterday,” says Liz Borrett proudly.  Our conversation has barely begun and, runner to the core, she has already furnished us with the distance and time of her latest outing as she prepares for the 2023 Tokyo Marathon. 

On March 5, she will aim to become the oldest female Six Star Finisher on record at 84 years of age. 

That last long run, by the way, was 32km. She boasts a Majors PR of 4:00:34 set in Boston in 2013. When she was 74.  

She’s in fine fettle as she approaches what she says will be her final tilt at 26.2 miles. “We still have winter here but the surface was good to run on and the temperature was perfect,” says the British Columbia native, who will focus on half marathons after that Six Star medal is safely ensconced in her collection. 

Her love affair with the marathon began after losing her husband of 40 years. She was 63 when she toed the start line of the Hawaii Marathon in 2002.  

“I had retied from work and my husband died, then there was an opportunity to raise some money for the Arthritis Society. I knew nothing about running. I’d always been very active but never a runner. It was a destination and an opportunity to do something different. I had no idea people trained for marathons!” 

The former nurse wasn’t happy with her performance, so she registered for another one, and the running bug had her. 

“It’s been really good for me in my own general stimulation, I have more friend options and I’m much happier in my retirement lifestyle,” she says. 

After completing the three North American Majors, the prospect of overseas travel and experiencing new cities lead Liz to sign on with a marathon travel company. Berlin was completed in 2017 and London followed in 2019.  

“Those marathons were destination runs and parts of the world that I would not have travelled to had it not been for the marathons,” she says. 

Which brings us to Tokyo. Like so many runners who will be pitching up in the Japanese capital for the 2023 race, Liz has been forced to wait it out while the scourge of COVID-19 put much of the world on hold. Easier said than done for a runner who has relied on staying active for her health and wellbeing as the birthday cake candles have grown to an impressive number. 

“For a couple of years I did very little running and I lost a lot of my endurance, but that’s now building again,” she says.

“I’m realistic to know that I’m 84 and I’m bound to be slower than I was at 74. So I just know I’m going to finish. I’m not racing it, I’m going to complete it.” 

As well as continuing to get her long runs done, she has mixed her schedule up with sprints, weights, Pilates sessions and more to keep her body strong. 

“And I have a real network of young friends that are supportive to me and I offer them support as well,” she says. “It’s social as much as running. They become people you can go to, people you can party with!” 

In addition to her thriving running community, there are also four grandchildren who cheer her on - and two great grandchildren on the way.  

“They are amazed at how old I am and the things that I do! I have one Granddaughter who’s into running. She’s 28 and she did her first marathon in Victoria a couple of years ago. That was really special and at that time I was faster than her! I stayed with her though, and we crossed the line together. A great experience.” 

And to anyone else considering a later-in-life start to their own Six Star journey?  

“I think it’s possible,” says Liz. “Age is a number. It’s about your own personal motivation and keenness for life and to be doing something that’s rewarding for your family and for yourself.”


Ania Gabb from the UK has made a career helping others to achieve their running and fitness goals, but on March 5 will be focused on reaching her own target. It has been a long and winding road. 

When did the Six Star medal become a real target for you?  
I remember exactly when I was made aware of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. I was out for a long training run in the summer of 2014 with my friend. We were both training for the New York City Marathon and she told me I should look into running all the Majors if I wanted a challenge.

As soon as I got home I researched which cities were part of the big six! There and then I entered the ballot for Berlin 2015, and to my surprise got a place. That’s when my journey truly began.  

Which race of the five so far has been your favorite?  
I know it may seem like a cliché but London has and always will be my favorite. It was my first ever marathon in 2009 and since then I’ve ran it a further 10 times. No other marathon, that I’ve ran, has the same atmosphere as London’s halfway point at Tower Bridge. The atmosphere and the runners in fancy dress make London Marathon iconic, not to forget running down The Mall towards the finish line. I get goosebumps every time I think about it. It has a special place in my heart that can never be replaced.  

What advice would you give someone thinking of going for a Six Star medal?  
Enjoy them! Don’t stress about going for a personal best or time but instead enjoy and be in the moment! Also save some money because traveling around the world to run a marathon isn’t a cheapest of hobbies! 

Was there ever a point when you thought “I’m not going to be able to do this?”  
I could write a book about my Majors experiences. Each one tells a story. For me Boston, Chicago, and Tokyo will always stick in my mind. Boston 2017 had a major heatwave, which caused a lot of people to pull out of the race. From mile 14 I had to take on plan B and just finish. I saw my husband at the top of Heartbreak Hill and ended up walking over to him and breaking down into tears. I kept repeating “I can’t do it, I can’t do it!”  

I was so dehydrated and sunburnt at that point that I honestly felt like I couldn’t go on. With my husband’s encouragement and the crowd cheering me on, I carried on. However, I ended up collapsing at the finish line and had to be taken to the medical tent.  

Chicago 2019 was extremely emotional for me. The week before the marathon my mother had passed away after a two-year battle with brain cancer. Part of me didn’t want to go but all my family convinced me. I hadn’t done much training due to caring for my mother, so I just went to run and complete the Major.  

Again I broke down at mile 18 and walked/ran the last eight miles in tears. This is definitely a marathon I’d like to do again because mentally I struggled and didn’t soak up what an incredible race and city Chicago was.  

Tokyo? Well…. We all know how hard that has been! I’ve been heartbroken five times since February 2020 with not being able to run or even get into the country due to COVID-related restrictions. 

Are there any lessons you’ve taken into your daily life that you’ve learned on your Six Star journey?  
Mental strength and family support can get you through anything. I’m quite a stubborn person, however without the love and support of my family I’m not sure I would be collecting my Six Star medal in Tokyo. If you work on your mental strength then you’ll be able to achieve any goal you desire.  

Now that you’ve reached your Six Star goal, what is next for you?  
I have unfinished business with a few of Majors, including Boston, New York, and Chicago. I’d love to run them again and fully soak up what they have to offer! I’m also extremely excited that Sydney may be added to the Majors because my sister lives there, which means she’d finally be able to watch me do what I love – RUN! 


Daniel Klarkowski from Germany is a running and fitness blogger. He has been running in his hometown of Berlin since 2011.  

When did the Six Star medal become a real target for you? 
I had run Berlin a few times and then I got a first glimpse into international running with the London Marathon in 2015.

It was a first taste of getting to know the global tribe of runners, sharing the passion about running and travelling all over the world to celebrate running together at the best marathons in the world. The real break-through moment for me was my first New York City Marathon in 2017.  

It sounds a bit cheesy, but that feeling I had in New York made me believe that peace is possible everywhere in the world. The way I had experienced how people come together from all over the world, everyone with individual backgrounds, roots, history and training levels, but it felt immediately like family.

Also, it seemed like every New Yorker was welcoming and celebrating the runners. It was quite heart-warming. I’ve never received so many high fives and congratulations in my life. So I wanted to experience the spirit of the other Majors too and started really going after it. 

Which race of the five so far has been your favorite? 
I have to put Berlin first because it my home town. It is the highlight of my season and I meet so many friends on and off the course that it’s like a family running party somehow.

I entered entered the Jubilee Club last year (for runners who have completed 10 BMW Berlin Marathons) and will run Berlin for the 11th time in a row this year. But I also loved New York, because I feel so connected to history of modern, urban running there and basically the whole city is in marathon fever during the event.  

What advice would you give someone thinking of going for a Six Star medal? 
To take your time to complete the journey and to enjoy the process. I have seen runners completing the series in a single year or just two. But squeezing so many highlights into one year, each race could stand out less and you’ll mix up memories a lot.

Also for training reasons it’s a nice thing to be working towards a unique highlight for each season and then maybe add a few smaller races to your schedule per year. Also think about your final race and where you want to be finishing your Majors series.  

Was there ever a point when you thought “I’m not going to be able to do this?” 
Not a surprise, but COVID changed all our lives a lot and for the global running travelers, who love to explore new cities and marathons, it was a quite a depressing time.

I was worried if it would ever be possible to be running and traveling again, but also about the race organizations. But I am happy that the running world is back in shape and also most smaller running events in my home area are happening again and made it through.

I believe in the 'athletes adjust' philosophy. There might have been moments where my original plans did not work out and I had to change in order to reach my goals. But I never questioned that I would finish and succeed. 

Are there any lessons you’ve taken into your daily life that you’ve learned on your Six Star journey? 
Patience, trust and readiness. It takes a while for good things to happen. They don't just happen every day and every time. But you have to trust the process that your day will come and you have to be ready to take the opportunity if it’s there. I was really worried about becoming a Boston Qualifier, but I worked hard, caught a perfect race day in Chicago and I did it. I thought it might take forever to get into Tokyo, but here I am, ready to complete my Six Star Journey. So trust the process, work hard and be ready. 

What is next for you? 
There are so many amazing marathons around the world. I always wanted to run in Africa, so this might be my next big thing. But I was also thinking about spending more time in Europe to complete some more half marathons and marathons in Europe’s capitals, like Copenhagen, Lisbon and Prague. And there is also a high chance that I might start a second round of the Majors in a few years. 


Meet the family hunting
down a Six Star record 

Chilean Rodrigo Lobo and his five sons, Rodrigo, Tomás, Santiago, Agustín and Raimundo are all set to earn their Six Star medal together and, in the process, become Guinness World Record holders as the largest family to run the six Majors.  

Known as The Wolfpack, this incredible group were inspired by their father to join him and embark on a quest to complete all six races as a family, and have been supported by Abbott on their journey. 

We caught up with Santiago to learn more about this unique tribe aiming for glory in Tokyo. 

When did the Six Star medal become a real target for you?  
It was when we completed Berlin in 2014, which was also the third one we had completed as a family (they had also run Amsterdam in 2012 and Vienna in 2013).

It was at this point that we decided to take things a step further and see if we could make history as the largest family to complete the six Abbott World Marathon Majors.

We reached out to the Guinness World Records (GWR) and received confirmation that there was no record for the largest family to complete the six Majors. This revelation further fueled our motivation and we decided to set our sights on achieving this remarkable feat.  

Which race of the five so far has been your favorite?  
London stands out. One of the main reasons for this is the stunning scenery along the course. Running through the streets of London past iconic landmarks like Tower Bridge and the London Eye was a truly unforgettable experience.

It was the first time we did a family trip before the marathon. Usually, we arrive in the host city four days before the marathon to acclimatize and then travel for a week afterward. However, for London, we decided to do things differently and spent some time training together before the marathon.

This allowed us to have a more relaxed travel experience and enjoy each other's company before the race. Overall, the combination of the scenic course and the opportunity to spend time together as a family before the marathon made London our favorite race.

We will always cherish the memories we made during this trip and look forward to creating many more in the future.  

What advice would you give someone thinking of going for a Six Star medal?  
Enjoy the experience and savor every moment. Completing the Six Star journey is a tremendous achievement, but it's important to remember that the motivation to keep running may fade over time. Therefore, this last training block and race should be an extremely special experience, and it should be appreciated knowing that it may be the last one.  

Was there ever a point when you thought “I’m not going to be able to do this?  
Yes, during my last marathon in Boston, there was a point where I thought I wouldn't be able to complete the race. I made the rookie mistake of changing my shoes two weeks before the marathon, and halfway through the race, I experienced extreme pain in both knees. It was the most pain I had ever felt, and I ended up taking about an hour longer than my expected time.  

The pain was so excruciating that I wanted to quit several times. However, knowing that my whole family was also pushing themselves towards the same end goal, I had to find the strength to push myself through those last 20km. It was a mentally and physically exhausting experience, and there were moments where I felt I was not going to make it.  

Despite the difficulties, I was able to cross the finish line, thanks in no small part to the thought of meeting my family in the finish line and celebrate together. This experience taught me that running a marathon is not just about physical fitness but also mental toughness and resilience.

It's important to remember that setbacks and challenges will inevitably arise, but with the right mindset and support, anything is possible.  

Are there any lessons you’ve taken into your daily life that you’ve learned on your Six Star journey?  
Yes, the Six Star journey has taught me several valuable lessons that I have been able to apply to my daily life. One of the most significant lessons I have learned is that the journey itself is just as important as the destination. Running the marathons and working towards the Six Star medal has been an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's the journey of training, preparing, and spending time with my family that has been the most memorable and enjoyable.  

I have also learned the importance of communication and support. Throughout the Six Star journey, my family and I have shared our times and struggles with each other, providing support and encouragement along the way. This has taught me the value of having a strong support system in all areas of life and the importance of being there for others.  

Lastly, the journey has shown me the benefits of discipline and hard work. Training for a marathon is a grueling process, but the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with crossing the finish line makes it all worth it. This has taught me that with dedication, hard work, and perseverance, anything is possible, both in running and in life.  

In conclusion, the Six Star journey has been an incredible experience that has taught me valuable life lessons. While I will miss the experience of bonding with my family through this journey, I will carry these lessons with me throughout my life.  

What’s next? 
There is a good chance that we will continue running together. We have enjoyed the Six Star journey so much that we wouldn't want it to end just yet.  

Furthermore, we are keeping a close eye on the development of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. New races could take place in South Africa, Australia, and China, and if they are approved we would definitely be interested in taking on this challenge.  

In addition, we also plan to continue to prioritize our health and fitness. Running has become an integral part of our lives, and we want to continue to stay active and healthy as a family. Whether it's running more marathons or taking on other fitness challenges, we look forward to continuing to support each other and grow as a family.  

"There is a good chance that we will continue running together. We have enjoyed the Six Star journey so much that we wouldn't want it to end just yet."  


The launch issue of MAJORS Magazine is out now.
Read it here.

You can also catch all episodes of the Marathon Talk podcast here.

Claim your Majors results and chart your journey towards the Six Star Medal here.