The world's five premier international marathons--the Boston Marathon, the London Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, and the New York City Marathon--have joined forces to collectively represent the top echelon in the sport of marathon running. These five events will now be known as the World Marathon Majors.
The directors of the five races will launch the World Marathon Majors Series this spring at the 110th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17. The series will culminate at the 2007 New York City Marathon on November 4 with the award of a total $1 million prize purse split evenly between the top male and female series finishers.
In addition, over the two-year scoring period, the world's best marathoners will earn points when they finish among the top five places at the individual WMM races, the IAAF World Marathon Championships, and the Olympic Marathon.
"This is one of the most significant changes in the history of our sport," said Dave Bedford, race director of the London Marathon. "The World Marathon Majors Series marks the start of a new era of growth and excitement for our sport."
"The World Marathon Majors marks the first time in the sport's history that the world's top five races have joined together for the common good and promotion of the sport by creating a unified global circuit of the sport's best and most prestigious 26.2-mile championships," said Guy Morse, executive director of the Boston Marathon.
The announcement of the WMM Series was made in joint news conferences in Boston and London and included the endorsement and backing of many of the world's best athletes, including world record-holder Paul Tergat of Kenya and Olympic marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi of the United States.
"Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Champions hip are to golf," said Mary Wittenberg, race director of the New York City Marathon. "Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events."
After the WMM Series commences this spring at Boston and at the London Marathon on April 23, the competition will continue in the autumn at the Berlin-Marathon on September 24, the Chicago Marathon on October 22, and the New York City Marathon on November 5.