It has been a fantastic year for the Abbott World Marathon Majors. 

We have seen history-making performances from our elite athletes, with first-time champions crowned in three of our four elite series competitions and two of them breaking world records. 

We also saw some incredible performances in the AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships in Chicago. World Age Group records and national records were broken as runners across the age ranges put on performances that showed what’s possible with dedication and commitment to pursuing your goals. 

On the subject of goals, we also had a historic year for our Six Star Finisher family. More than 4,500 of you completed your journey, with over 3,000 on that record-setting day in Tokyo. 

In my first full year as CEO, the passion and enthusiasm of this incredible community of runners has underlined exactly why this is such a wonderful movement to be a part of, and I cannot wait to see what 2024 has in store for us. 

If you have toed a start line, taken on a Global Run Club challenge, said hello at Expo or contributed to the community in any way this year, thank you for making what we do here matter. 

I hope you enjoy the last instalment of MAJORS magazine for 2023 as we take a look back at an amazing 12 months.

Dawna Stone, CEO, Abbott World Marathon Majors

The Image

Kelvin Kiptum looks anything but exhausted after
smashing the world record at the Bank of America
Chicago Marathon in October. The Kenyan became
the first man to break 2:01:00 when he clocked 2:00:35
(Kevin Morris for Bank of America Chicago Marathon)


BE NO.6?

Congratulations to all those who secured a place in Tokyo through the AbbottWMM ballot. If you are running on March 3 and it is going to be your sixth and final star, please make sure you have completed your Set for No. 6 form in your Runner Portal. We will then make sure we have a Six Star Medal waiting for you at the finish! It is looking like being another bumper year in Tokyo with over 2,000 runners already notifying us that this will be their final race! 


What will you be listening to as you train for the 2024 TCS London Marathon? After the 2023 edition of the race, Strava, in partnership with Spotify, released the top ten songs on London Marathon playlists, and the most popular track turned out to be a tune nearly as old as the race itself. The chart was topped by Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, which was released in 1982, just a year after the first London Marathon took place. 


After bringing the curtain down on a memorable 2023 for the Abbott World Marathon Majors, there was much talk of the celebrity roster of runners who took to the streets for the TCS New York City Marathon, including YouTube megastar Casey Neistat who ran a 3:01:27 PR. But the show was stolen again by Wrinkle the Duck who, took part in at least some of the course, and was even rewarded with a medal at the finish.


It was announced in November that Dr. Cheri Blauwet has taken up the position of Board Chair for the Boston Athletic Association. Dr Blauwet won the Boston Marathon women’s wheelchair division race in 2004 and 2005 and also won the New York City Marathon in 2002. “The B.A.A. is an organization that I have been part of for many years and one that is continuing to make progress in our mission to serve the community, particularly in our work to enhance opportunities for Para and Adaptive athlete,” said Dr Blauwet. “I am approaching this role with enthusiasm, ready to work along with my Board colleagues to support our organizational mission of promoting healthy lifestyles through sport.” 


As the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON gears up for its 50th race in 2024, the race and the city have been recognised together by World Athletics with the award of a Heritage Plaque. The award honors the athletic history of the city, which can go as far back as the 1800s for its first organized running events. Horst Milde, founder of the BERLIN-MARATHON, said: “The awarding of the Heritage Plaque by World Athletics to the BERLIN-MARATHON, which has now been running for almost 50 years, is a great and significant honor for the organizing team, the SCC Berlin club, the many volunteers and for me. It is both high praise and an incentive for the future.”


More than 120,000 runners applied for a place in the 2024 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Applicants were notified of their selection status in early December, with organizers hoping to reach a record-breaking 50,000 finishers next October.

Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said: “The energy and excitement of (the 2023) race day captured the attention of runners from around the world and we’re humbled by the extraordinary interest we’ve seen as a result.”


Records fell, stars were born and legends ruled again in Series XV of the Abbott World Marathon Majors 

WORDS: Danny Coyle  ILLUSTRATION: Neil Jamieson

The prospect of sporting drama can often be oversold only to underdeliver. 

Those of us who traipse into arenas around the world week after week, or commandeer prime position in front of the TV on a weekend afternoon, do so in the hope that entertainment will unfold to keep us on the edge of our seats. It’s not always so. 

The drabness of the contest we are sometimes served up can leave us wondering what else we could have done with those last couple of hours. 

The 2023 season of the Abbott World Marathon Majors does not fall into that category. It does not even come close. 

In 2023, we have seen three world records, countless course records, elbow-to-elbow sprint finishes, new faces storm the scene and old stagers rage against the dying of the light in a cocktail of marathon running mixed by the sporting Gods. 

It all began on the streets of Tokyo in March. The Japanese capital welcomed the world back to its flagship race for the first time since 2019. 

The wait had been a long one to enjoy the sights of crowded streets and a full field lining up behind the elite cast assembled by Tad Hayano in his final event as race director. 

The athletes he brought to the party certainly kept their end of the deal. Rosemary Wanjiru rocketed to sixth on the women’s marathon all-time list with 2:16:28, defeating Tsehay Gemechi, who also broke 2:17 to become just the eighth woman to breach that mark in history. 

Wanjiru’s margin of victory was 28 seconds, roughly 28 seconds more than Deso Gelmisa’s winning gap.

The Ethiopian battled side by side in the shadow of Tokyo Station with countryman Mohamed Esa before finally nudging in front as the tape approached. 

Further back, there was joy for Canadian Cam Levins, who lead for so much of the race only to finish fifth, but in doing so he broke the great Khalid Khannouchi’s North American record that had stood for 20 years, finishing in 2:05:36. 

The wheelchair races were plundered by Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär. Hug’s win was a portent of a historic year in the making, while for Schär, her third win in Tokyo set her up to battle a strong field of women in the coming months. 

The elite action played out against a backdrop of another historic subplot to a glorious day in Tokyo, as more than 3,000 runners claimed their Six Star Medal, setting a new Guinness World Record in the process. The series was off to a flying start.


The annual renewal of the world’s oldest continuously held marathon is enough in itself to capture the gaze of the running world on Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. 

But throw the greatest man to ever run the distance into the mix, and the attention levels take a quantum leap.  

Eliud Kipchoge’s arrival in Beantown was heralded as the fifth chapter in a six-part odyssey to become the first able-bodied athlete to win all six Abbott World Marathon Majors.  

Coinciding with the 10-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston bombings, emotion and expectation were ratcheted to new levels as Kipchoge spearheaded a field packed with experience and – crucially – Boston knowhow. 

Chief among those with prior knowledge of the fastest way to get from Hopkinton to Boylston Street was Evans Chebet, the 2022 champion.

Chebet is a study in patience, as he had proved in Boston a year earlier, and again in New York City in 2022 when he let Daniel Do Nascimento rage into a lead in a suffocating soup of unseasonable heat, only to pass the stricken Brazilian in the late miles as he lay on the road with no more in the tank. 

Chebet was in the mood to play the waiting game again, and when he struck, Kipchoge had no reply in the lower Newton Falls. 

Chebet strode to glory while Kipchoge labored home in sixth, the dream of a unique six-star achievement washed away in the puddles scattered down the home straight. 

If Chebet was surgically patient with his tactics, Hellen Obiri was practically saintly. The 33-year-old, newly ensconced in her American training base with coach Dathan Ritzenhein, had faded after a promising performance in New York five months earlier, unable to maintain the pace she set when the undulations of Central Park arrived.  

This time, after she was announced as a late entry to the race, she doused her ambitions to escape for as long as she could. Obiri held her nerve until the final two miles in Boston before out-muscling Amane Beriso to take the acclaim of the crowds with a 12-second advantage. 

Kenya celebrated a double, if not the one anyone expected. 

A fervent crowd also got to see its home flag raised on a day packed with remembrance.  

Susannah Scaroni, the defending AbbottWMM series champion, knew that if she was going to beat last year’s Boston winner Manuela Schär, she had to hang on for dear life on the downhills and deploy her superior climbing when it mattered most.  

She did both, and then some. She was free and clear by halfway, even with time to stop, produce a wrench, and tighten a troublesome left wheel nut, and continue on her way to claim the olive wreath. 

As for the men’s wheelchair race: Marcel Hug could not be touched. Man and machine were working in perfect harmony, and another course record was collected by the Silver Bullet, finishing in 1:17:06. 

“I tried to not have it in my mind that it could be six wins. now I realize what happened”


“To be honest, I am scared of the marathon. I don’t know whether I will finish or not, but I’m also very curious.  Sometimes I wake up and think ‘Why the hell did I decide to run a marathon?’” 



The vast majority of London’s record-size field on April 22 would have been experiencing some scale of doubt, nerves and outright panic as race day approached. It’s a natural and expected state for most of us who have lived through a marathon race week.  

But to hear that the same cascade of emotions were tumbling through the mind of one of the finest runners of the modern era was both surprising and settling all at once. 

Sifan Hassan’s track career speaks for itself, but as she stepped up to the challenge of 26.2 miles, it was as though all those records and medals mattered for nought.  

“I’ve already been nervous for a month,” she admitted before the race. “To be honest, I am scared of the marathon. I don’t know whether I will finish or not, but I’m also very curious.  

“Sometimes I wake up and think ‘Why the hell did I decide to run a marathon?’” 

And all that apprehension seemed well-placed when the race began. The Dutch athlete fell off the pace of the front group after six miles and was seen stopping to stretch a stiff hip, which prompted luminaries such as Steve Cram and Paula Radcliffe, commentating for the host broadcaster, to suggest she might want to call it a day. 

Hassan had other ideas. A gap to the lead pack was whittled away in the last nine miles, and – despite a near collision with a race motorbike as she veered across the road for a drinks station – she was suddenly back on their shoulders which, considering her track speed, must have felt like a body blow to their chances. Speed kills. 

Hassan inevitably roared away from the pack as she flew past Buckingham Palace, and claimed one of the most dramatic marathon debut wins in history. 

“I can’t believe I’ve finished, let alone won,” she said afterwards. “I can’t believe I’ve finished a marathon. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I’m so stupid to play this kind of game. What was I thinking, running a marathon? I never cry, but this morning I was crying!” 

There was drama of a different sort in the men’s race, as the crowds screamed for Kelvin Kiptum to propel himself to a new world record. 

The 23-year-old was running his second marathon after clocking 2:01:53 on debut in Valencia, and proved he was no one-race wonder as he edged closer and closer to threatening Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:09.  

After some astonishing splits of 61:40 for the first half and 59:45 for the second, Kiptum just fell off Kipchoge’s mark, finishing in 2:01:25 to snatch the course record Kipchoge set in 2019, and put the world on notice that he was leading the chase to catch the great man. 

Marcel Hug was even more dominant in the London wheelchair race, while we witnessed a thrilling sprint finish in the women’s wheelchair contest. Madison De Rozario burst from the pack of four on The Mall to become the third different Major winner in as many events in a series that was shaping up to be a classic. 


Back on familiar territory, Eliud Kipchoge was back on a familiar step of the podium as he stormed to victory for the fifth time in Berlin. He could not lower his own world record on this occasion, finishing in 2:02:42. 

Despite another thoroughly impressive performance from Kipchoge, it would be a mere footnote by the day’s end.  

Tigist Assefa was back in the German capital to defend her title, but no one predicted what she was about to do. 

The age of the super shoe has long been a subject of heated discussion, with further fuel added to the debate when Assefa, sporting the latest iteration of footwear from her sponsor, took a match to the record books in Berlin. 

The 26-year-old Ethiopian set a barely-believable new world record of 2:11:53, slicing two minutes and 11 seconds off the time set by Brigid Kosgei in Chicago in 2019. She held one of her shoes aloft after crossing the line in a nod to the advances we have seen in recent years across the leading manufacturers. 

Assefa’s ascent from a 2:36 in Saudi Arabia in March 2022 to 2:11 18 months later was a story that had onlookers struggling to comprehend what they’d seen. 

Hers was not the only world record to fall in Berlin. 

In the women’s wheelchair race, the first four across the line all finished under the existing world record. Catherine Debrunner was at the head of that group, repeating her win of 12 months prior and inserting herself into the conversation for the series title with a time of 1:34:16 

Her compatriot Hug won in 1:23:07, coming home over six minutes in front of the second placed Daniel Romanchuk. 


Two weeks after seeing Eliud Kipchoge fail to improve upon his own world record, Kelvin Kiptum pitched up in the Windy City with his sights firmly fixed on finally beating his fellow Kenyan’s best. 

He did just that, scorching home in 2:00:35. In doing so, Kiptum became the owner of three of the six fastest times in history, and brought into view the prospect of a sub-two-hour marathon under certified race conditions. 

If his winning time was astonishing in itself, some of the embedded statistics that comprised his performance were equally as incredible. His half marathon splits were 60:48 for the first 13.1 miles and 59:47 for the second, with a 4:18 mile recorded in his 22nd mile, the fastest ever seen in a marathon. 

Sifan Hassan was also in town and blazed her way to the second fastest women’s time ever, 2:13:36. Six weeks earlier she had claimed medals on the track at the World Athletics Championships, underlining her incredible range as well as what appears to be a turn of pace over 26.2 miles that promises great things as we look to 2024 and beyond. Dare she focus on the marathon at next year’s Olympics? 

While Marcel Hug blasted his way to a fifth win in five races, Susannah Scaroni and Catherine Debrunner escaped from the pack in the women’s wheelchair race and engaged in a personal duel all the way to the final straight. It was Debrunner who emerged victorious, demonstrating that she can put her record-setting track speed to good use in a dash for the tape on the roads. 

The Swiss was now a genuine contender for the series title as all eyes turned to the finale in the Big Apple. 

New York City 

With Kiptum having a firm grip on the men’s series title, race day glory was the prime motivation for the men’s field spearheaded by Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola. The 32-year-old had become world champion in 2022 but had never occupied the top of the podium at one of the Majors.  

He set about rectifying that in style in New York, breaking his rivals at the 20-mile mark and powering to a new course record of 2:04:56, bettering the time set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011 and climbing into the prize money places in the final Series XV standings. 

The women’s race was stacked with a raft of potential winners and the smart money was on Margaret Okayo’s 22-year-old course record finally tumbling.  

Among the field was Boston champion Hellen Obiri, the only woman who could equal Sifan Hassan’s two wins in the series to force a race director vote for the 2023 champion. 

A pedestrian pace meant that Okayo’s record would be safe for another year, and it also meant a gaggle of the strongest women remained in-tact late into the race. Eventually, it was reduced to Obiri, last year’s winner Sharon Lokedi and New York newcomer Letesenbet Gidey, whose debut in Valenica was the fastest maiden marathon in the record books. 

As Lokedi faded on the final approach to Central Park, Obiri and Gidey were left to fight it out, Gidey with her serene, gliding style a glaring contrast to Obiri’s street-fighting, shoulder-rolling gait.  

As they climbed the final few hundred metres, the hustling Obiri finally established an advantage that the Ethiopian could not close, and she made the line to claim the first female Boston/New York double in the same year since Ingrid Kristiansen in 1989. 

It was not quite enough for Obiri to win the vote against Hassan for the series title. The race directors decided Hassan’s storybook debut in London and lighting-fast time in Chicago were enough to edge Obiri’s two battling performances in Boston and New York. 

The huge crowds lining the course also got to see Marcel Hug make history as he charged to his sixth win in six Majors, sealing the series title and a golden six star medal for his perfect season.  

In the women’s wheelchair race, with four women still in the hunt for the title and all of them rolling off the start on Staten Island, it was the Barbie-pink-clad Catherine Debrunner who stormed over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to throw down the gauntlet to her competition. 

“it has been a fairytale year with all the records and marathon victories. It was just amazing. I really don’t have the words for it”


She simply blew them all away, taming the tough New York course to win the race, the series and claim an additional $50,000 for setting a new course record. She is the first woman to break 1:40 in the five boroughs. 

There has never been a year in which so many records were broken in an AbbottWMM season as we move into what feels like a new era in the sport.  

It all starts again on March 3 in Tokyo. Dare we dream that 2024 can surpass the 12 months we have just enjoyed? 

Record levels of runners completed their Six Star journey in 2023. MAJORS looks back at a history-making 12 months 

WORDS: Danny Coyle

At the beginning of 2023, the Six Star Finisher family totalled just over 8,000. 

It would take a quantum leap in the ensuing 12 months as the Abbott World Marathon Majors finally saw all six races return to their full complement in field size and overseas travel to all of the events was restored. 

This meant a landmark day in Majors history on the first stop of the year. Tokyo was able to welcome international runners for the first time since 2019 after Japan’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. 

The backlog of runners needing the race to complete their Six Star journey had swollen over three years, to the extent that more than 3,000 people would be on the start line gunning for their Six Star Medal in March. 

Together, they earned the race a Guinness World Record for the most Six Star finishers at a single marathon. 

Among them were stories of inspiration and triumph over adversity that could fill a novel and then some. 

Thomas Eller was one such runner, who became the world’s first deaf-born Six Star Finisher. There also were firsts for Pakistan and Egypt as those nations celebrated their inaugural Six Star finishers. 

They were joined by the USA’s Becky McMorries, who suffered a fractured hip and was helped the rest of the way by a collection of runners who had never met until they came together to make sure she would cross that finish line. 

In Boston, the numbers were not in their thousands, but the race did see a record high of 684 new members of the Hall of Fame.  

The great Irina Mikitenko was one of them. The three-time elite series champion, who has wins 

in London and Berlin on her Six Star Certificate plus second and third places in Tokyo and Chicago, crossed the line on Boylston Street in 3:19:16. 

She was some way ahead of another incoming member of the Six Star family who was making her third bid to earn her Boston star. Alexandria Williams had been scuppered by the weather in 2018 and the cut-off time in 2022, but was back to complete her journey in 2023. 

In London, a cult hero joined the list. Yuki Kawauchi, who defied the experts as well as the weather to win the 2018 Boston Marathon, stormed home at the front of the mass race in the British capital to complete his set of six. 

Berlin was next. At the front of the race, Tigist Assefa was busy smashing the women’s world record, while further back down the field, another small slice of history was made by Rabia Naeem, who became Pakistan’s first female Six Star Finisher. Bolivia also celebrated its first member of the Hall of Fame when Leonardo Claros completed his journey. 

The mountainous South American nation doubled its tally two weeks later in Chicago when Rodrigo Vasquez Del Carpio reached his final finish line. 

The Windy City also saw the great Liz Nuttall née McColgan earn her medal. 

The Scottish legend won world 10,000m gold in 1991 and then won on her marathon debut in New York City in the same year. She also triumphed in London in 1996. Nuttall reignited her Six Star medal quest in 2022 when she ran Boston and Berlin, and then completed Tokyo and Chicago this year. 

New York rounded the year off with another 190 runners collecting their hardware in Central Park. They included the inspirational Simone Carniglia, who became the world’s fastest Type 1 diabetic Six Star Finisher when he completed his journey. 

The lists are already growing at pace for the 2024 intake of Six Star Hopefuls. Tokyo is promising to be another bumper crop as the international contingent continues to make its return to the land of the rising sun.  

It will kick off what is sure to be another year of inspiring tales and memorable moments for runners reaching that final finish line to receive their medal. 


Australia Fair

The Sydney Marathon has passed stage one of its candidacy to become an Abbott World Marathon Major  

WORDS: Danny Coyle

It was announced in November that the Sydney Marathon will now proceed to the second stage of the candidacy process in its attempt to join the Abbott World Marathon Majors series.

The marathon was assessed in September 2023 and was judged to have met the criteria set out by Abbott World Marathon Majors in its second year of candidacy. 

Sydney will now be required to meet the criteria for a second consecutive year when it stages its next marathon on September 15, 2024. 

If it is successful, the race would join the Majors in 2025, becoming the first race added to the series since the induction of the Tokyo Marathon in 2013. 

“Our assessment team found that the 2023 Sydney Marathon has made significant improvements in a number of areas where we required it to raise standards following its 2022 event,” said AbbottWMM CEO, Dawna Stone. 

“The team was impressed with the efforts made to meet the criteria set out in the assessment process, and we now look forward to returning in 2024 for the next stage of their candidacy.” 

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was also assessed in October 2023 – its second assessment year – and while it has not yet achieved a pass, the race was found by AbbottWMM’s team to have made significant strides towards the standards set out in the assessment criteria.



The race will continue its journey in the first stage of the process when the AbbottWMM assessment team visits the next edition of the race in October 2024. 

The Chengdu Marathon also underwent assessment in October 2023, which was the team’s second opportunity to assess the event, and will also continue its stage one assessment journey in 2024 to achieve its first pass.  

CEO of Destination New South Wales, Steve Cox said the New South Wales Government was excited by the news. 

“What a fantastic achievement by the Sydney Marathon in meeting the Abbott World Marathon Majors criteria this year. 

“2023 was a record-breaking marathon for Australia so a huge congratulations to the organisers, Pont3, and all involved in achieving this important milestone. 

”The New South Wales Government is thrilled to be partnering with Sydney Marathon on its journey to becoming an Abbott World Marathon Major. Here’s to making next year’s event even bigger and better to achieve the ultimate goal of celebrating Sydney Marathon as one of the elite marathon events in the world in 2025.” 

Wayne Larden, Sydney Marathon Race Director said: “The success of the 2023 event is a testament to the passion and dedication of the local and international running community, supporting not only Sydney but also Australia in its goal of hosting an Abbott World Marathon Major. 

“The Sydney Marathon has already received thousands more registrations compared to this time last year, and the event is on track to achieve record numbers again in 2024.” 

Abbott World Marathon Majors have also confirmed that the current Six Star Finisher program will remain unaffected should new marathons join the series, and there will be a new additional awards program for runners achieving more than six stars. 

Plans for this program will be finalised and announced in the second quarter of 2024. 

Dawna Stone said: “We have been listening to our community and fully appreciate the huge appeal of the Six Star Medal. We are also aware of the tens of thousands of runners on their Six Star journey whose strong desire is for this goal to stay in place. 

“We have therefore decided that this original award for completing all six current Abbott World Marathon Majors will continue.” 

Age Groupers shine in Chicago

The third AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships saw records set and new world champions crowned on a fast day in the Windy City

The AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships landed in the United States for the first time in 2023. 

Over 2,500 runners toed the start line at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to run for the title of Age Group World Champion, with near perfect conditions setting the stage for fast running in the Windy City. 

Among them was the great Gene Dykes, who had narrowly missed his age group’s American record two weeks earlier at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. He was not to be denied on this occasion. Sporting his bright pink running shirt emblazoned with the ‘Ultra-geezer’ moniker his daughter coined for him, Dykes blazed his way to 3:17:01 to win the M75-79 title and take the American record down in style.

“It feels good to set a goal and then achieve it,” said Dykes. “You can do that whether you’re going for records or not. My favorite world record is No. 1 for enjoying running. It’s a 50,000-way tie but that’s a record everyone should go for.” 

Dykes was joined in the record books by the irrepressible Jeannie Rice, who set a time of 3:34:32 in the F70-74 category to claim a new world record in that age group.  

Another American, Jenny Hitchings, confirmed her status as the quickest 60-64-year-old female on the planet, also setting a new world record of 2:49:33 to claim that age group crown as well. Hitchings’ time would have been quick enough to win the F50-54 and F55-59 categories. 

Hitchings was followed home by the 2022 champion Mary Slocum from Ireland, who took the silver medal in 3:10:48 to add to the first place she claimed in London the previous year.  

Slocum lost her husband John to bowel cancer in 2017 and began running seriously following his passing.  

2023 AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Champions 

“I was able to do a little bit of running in between taking care of him, he always encouraged me to run and that was a driving force behind my racing,” said Slocum. 

“I know when I achieve something like this, my boys are proud of me. I’m thinking of them and thinking of their dad, who would have been very proud today as well.” 

In the F45-49 category, Japan’s Mai Fujisawa was the only woman to defend her title, becoming double world champion with 2:41:43. 

In the M40-45 age group, Ken Rideout finally topped the rostrum after a string of impressive marathons made him a heavy favourite following his second-place finish in London in 2021.  Rideout’s 2:29:06 was his third Major under 2:30 since 2021. 

Australia’s Wayne Spies was second in the M50-54 age group. The legendary Comrades Marathon runner – who has completed 11 editions of South Africa’s prestigious ultra-marathon – finished in 2:29:54 to take silver, just 20 seconds ahead of the 2022 M45-49 champion Tom van Ongeval of Belgium. 

With the qualifying year almost at an end, attention now turns to selection for the 2024 championship race, taking place within the Sydney Marathon on September 15. 

Sydney will be the first race to host the championships outside the Majors and the third continent for the world’s fastest Age Groupers to come together in pursuit of global titles.  


Hop in to an early 2024 marathon with optimal weather and wonderful sights or play the long game and target a qualifier with plenty of time to train 

WORDS: Dave Macnamara 

Egyptian Marathon January 12 2024 

The Egyptian Marathon is a chance to start the new year in style in a place that fuses ancient history and modern athleticism (depending on how much you ate over the holiday!)

Set within the Giza Plateau, the course passes the Sphinx and the Pyramids, taking in thousands of years of history. Starting under the historic temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the race has been held regularly over the past 29 years, making it the oldest ongoing marathon in Africa and the Middle East.  

TATA Mumbai Marathon January 21 2024 

From the historic Gateway of India to the lively streets of this bustling city, runners will navigate a course that gives them a taste of Mumbai’s diverse culture in the biggest running event in India. 

Across all distances on the weekend, over 40,000 runners take part, with over 4,000 finishing this year’s marathon to earn a spot in the Age Group World Rankings. The race director is none other than former London Marathon champion Hugh Jones.  

Chevron Houston Marathon January 14, 2024 

Houston has proved a happy hunting ground for records in recent editions. In 2022, Keira D’Amato ran a new American women’s marathon record of 2:19:12 and, in the same year, Sara Hall claimed a new half marathon record. Hall’s time was then erased by Emily Sisson, who lowered it further in Houston in 2023. The take-home message from all of those records: pack your running shoes and head for Texas if you want to post a quick time in your age group at the start of 2024.  

Life Time Miami Marathon January 28, 2024 

From the iconic Miami Beach to the energetic streets of downtown, this marathon gives you a real flavor of the Magic City. You’ll start on the mainland before heading across the Macarthur Causeway to Miami Beach, where you’ll sample the sights and sounds of Ocean Drive before heading back to town, taking in the affluent islands that flank the road back across the water.   

Zurich Seville Marathon February 18, 2024

Declaring the flattest course in Europe, Seville offers up fantastic PR potential thanks to its flat circuit at sea level and protection from the wind. As well as the optimal climate in southern Spain, there is plenty to see on a course that runs through a host of historical areas. 

Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes November 3, 2024 

Nestled against the breathtaking backdrop of the French Riviera, the Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes combines a test of your endurance with plenty of scenic splendor. Enjoy the sights of the Azure coast, from Nice’s vibrant streets to Cannes’ glamour. This race will challenge your physical limits but also treat you to some of Southern Europe’s most picturesque settings. Entries for 2024 are now open.   

California International Marathon December, 2024 

In the heart of the Golden State, the California International Marathon calls athletes from around the world to the city of Sacramento to test themselves against a jewel in the North American racing crown. With a finish set against the State Capitol backdrop, this is a great opportunity to experience a marathon that captures  essence of running in the Californian sun.   

There are over 350 qualifying races in the 2024 AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Rankings. Find out more at

Age Group stats 

As we approach the final weeks of 2023, the AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Rankings community has racked up some impressive numbers this year

Coming Full Circle  

An Abbott employee with diabetes runs the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K to return support the JDRF.  

Dr. Eric Pinashin thinks and talks about diabetes a lot. 

As a medical science liaison for Abbott’s Diabetes Care business, he travels across three states – specifically California, Hawaii and Arizona – to support the company’s FreeStyle Libre portfolio of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). 

Sometimes that means working with people inside and outside the company to increase awareness of and access to FreeStyle Libre technology. Other times it means training new hires, checking materials for medical accuracy and promoting diabetes research. 

“My favorite part of my job is educating healthcare providers and giving them that ‘ah-ha’ moment of understanding how our glucose-sensing technologies are intended to help patients feel empowered to manage their diabetes,” Pinashin said. 

But Pinashin’s interest in diabetes management isn’t just professional. 

In 2014 he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, aged 20 and earning his bachelor’s degree in biological science. Despite his burgeoning understanding of how his body worked, he still struggled. “I was truly in the dark – somehow making insulin dosing decisions, exercising and even going to sleep with no idea what my blood sugar was or was going to be overnight.” 

It was especially challenging for his active lifestyle of hiking, skiing, surfing and running. “I tried to remain optimistic, but there was always a lingering worry that my blood sugar would drop halfway through a hike.” 

JDRF, a global organization funding Type 1 diabetes research, was one of the first places Pinashin turned to. “The Los Angeles chapter definitely got me through those difficult post-diagnosis qualms of: ‘Why me? Will I have a normal life? What will others think?’” he said. “The knowledge and sense of community I received there were invaluable.” 

Coming Full Circle 

Pinashin endured five years of fingersticks, anxiety and uncertainty. Then, in 2019, a colleague recommended he try one of Abbott's FreeStyle Libre CGM systems, and his life changed in a matter of weeks. 

“There are no more hidden turns or surprises when you use a CGM,” he said. “I am in-the-know at all times and can do 10-mile hikes, surf for hours on end, and run and bike as confidently as I had prior to having diabetes. I can channel my energy and focus into the activity, not my blood sugar.” 

Pinashin joined Abbott in late 2022, in no small part because of how the FreeStyle Libre portfolio has improved his ability to manage his diabetes. On Nov. 4 when he helped kick off the TCS New York City Marathon weekend by participating in the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K to benefit JDRF, which was the charity partner of choice for the 2023 race. Abbott’s Diabetes Care business donated $2 to JDRF for every runner across the finish line, which resulted in the maximum donation of up to $20,000. 

“It is an honor to represent Abbott and the millions of people living with diabetes,” Pinashin said. “I’m also thrilled to run the race as someone whose whole diabetes journey has benefitted from the services and community that JDRF provides.” 



The final Major Moment of the year celebrates a former elite star who earned her Six Star medal in 2023, and the day she shot to fame. 

Irina Mikitenko joined the ranks of the Six Star Hall of Fame in Boston this year after a career that saw her lift the AbbottWMM series title in three consecutive years. 

The moment that catapulted Mikitenko into the ranks of the sport’s elites was her maiden victory at the 2008 London Marathon.

Mikitenko was up against the highly fancied Gete Wami, the series champion from the previous season, but the Ethiopian suffered a fall in the race that hampered her efforts and allowed Mikitenko to take full advantage. 

Having come second in Berlin the previous year, she remained unfancied against a clutch of talented East Africans in a strong London field. 

But it was Mikitenko who proved she could prosper in the difficult conditions as the pleasant weather gave way to rain clouds in the second half of the race.

“Sometimes I had to close my eyes and run into the head wind,” she said afterwards. 

It set her up to attack Wami’s lead in the second ever series of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, and she capitalized in Berlin later that year, securing a second victory and becoming the first German woman to break 2:20 in the marathon to claim her first sereis win.