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Marathon Majors Guide: Records, qualification, upcoming race dates & more


Marathon Majors

There are incredible marathon events right around the world, including Sydney’s iconic event down under.

But only six on planet earth are classified as Abbott World Marathon Majors; Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

And that’s what Sydney aspires to be in the next couple of years.

But runners all around the world are planning either their first or their next major run. And one of the majors might just be on that bucket list.

So here’s more on the Abbott World Marathon Majors and when they’re next on.

Upcoming Marathon Majors

2024 dates are well and truly locked in, with Tokyo, Boston and London now complete. There are a few still to come, after new records were clocked in both the men’s and women’s events in Japan’s capital, which can be found below.

2024 Marathon Majors Schedule Summary

  • Tokyo: March 3 (done)
  • Boston: April 15 (done)
  • London: April 21 (done)
  • Berlin: September 29
  • Chicago: October 13
  • New York: November 3
Marathon Majors, Berlin
The picturesque start to the Berlin Marathon | Marathon Majors

Berlin Marathon 2024 date & qualification

Date: September 29, 2024

Spectator estimation: 1,000,000

The Berlin Marathon is one of the biggest and best running festivals in the world, founded in 1974. A new era of the race kicked off after the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the event his risen spectacularly since then.

Just under 50,000 runners will enter.


All 2023 race entries have already been allocated.

The course must be completed within 6:15 hours. But the kicker is that entries are handed out through a lottery draw, due to popular demand.

Race records

Men’s: 2:01:09 (Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 2022)

Women’s: 2:11:53 WR (Tigst Assefa, ETH, 2023)

Men’s Wheelchair: 1:21:39 (Heinz Frei, SUI, 1997)

Women’s Wheelchair: 1:36:53 (Manuela Schar, SUI, 2018)

Marathon Majors, Berlin, Kipchoge
The GOAT, Eliud Kipchoge, Berlin Marathon | Marathon Majors

Chicago Marathon 2024 date & qualification

Date: October 13, 2024

Spectator estimation: 1.7 million

The Chicago Marathon has been going for nearly 50 years, dating back to 1977.

The flat and fast course takes entrants on a diverse journey through the historic city.

It draws a stunning amount of spectators every year.


Runners can either go after a guaranteed entry, through qualification, or non-guaranteed through a draw. Check out the info here. Non-guaranteed entries are available between October 17 (2023) and close November 15 (2023).

Race records

Men’s: 2:03:45 (Dennis Kimetto, KEN, 2013)

Women’s: 2:14:04 (Brigid Kosgei, KEN, 2019)

Men’s Wheelchair: 2:14:04 (Brigid Kosgei, KEN, 2019)

Women’s Wheelchair: 1:39:15 (Tatyana McFadden, USA, 2017)

Marathon Majors, New York, Chicago
Marathon Majors | New York Marathon (left) & Chicago Marathon (right)

New York Marathon 2024 date & qualification

Date: November 3, 2024

Spectator estimation: Over 1,000,000

The largest and perhaps the most iconic of all the Marathon Majors, New York City is a trip through some of the most well-known suburbs on the planet; starting Staton Island, then going through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and finishing in Manhattan.

The first running was in 1970, recently celebrating 50 years.

It’s held annually on the first Sunday in November. The largest field was over 53,000 competitors.


Here are the reasonably strict entry methods.

There are competitive time standards for automatic entry, while there’s also a draw so additional entrants can go in the running to gain qualification.

Race records

Men’s: 2:05:06 (Geoffrey Mutai, KEN, 2011)

Women’s: 2:22:31 (Margaret Okayo, KEN, 2003)

Men’s Wheelchair: 1:29:22 (Kurt Fearnley, AUS, 2006)

Women’s Wheelchair: 1:43:04 (Tatyana McFadden, USA, 2015)

Marathon Majors, New York
New York, New York: On the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge; connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn | Marathon Majors

Tokyo Marathon 2024 date & qualification

Date: March 3, 2024 | DONE

Spectator estimation: 1,000,000

The Tokyo Marathon theme is The Day We Unite — runners gathering together in front of a huge crowd.

Though wildly popular, the event only kicked off in 2007. It’s organised by the Tokyo Marathon Foundation.


Details can be found here. But the marathon cut-off is seven hours, while the wheelchair cut-off is 2:10. So entry is not as restrictive as other Majors.

Interested competitors can find official coordination and accomodation packages HERE.

Race records

Men’s: 2:02:16 (Benson Kipruto, KEN, 2024)

Women’s: 2:15:55 (Sutume Asefa Kebede, ETH, 2024)

Men’s Wheelchair: 1:21:52 (Tomoki Suzuki, JPN, 2020)

Women’s Wheelchair: 1:40:00 (Tsubasa Kina, JPN, 2020)

Marathon Majors, Tokyo
The famous finish line at the Tokyo Marathon | Marathon Majors

Boston Marathon 2024 date & qualification

Date: April 15, 2024 | DONE

Spectator estimation: 500,000

The Boston Marathon, run on Patriots’ Day in the iconic Massachusetts city, is one of the most prestigious marathon Majors – and competitive running events – on the planet. The inaugural race happened all the way back in 1897.

Ethiopa’s Sisay Lemma dominated the 2024 men’s race, while Kenya’s Hellen Obiri won the women’s. The winning times were a few minutes off record pace.

And going back a year, the 2023 edition saw just under 12,000 runners compete, which included marathon GOAT (unquestionably the greatest of all time) Eliud Kipchoge. The Kenyan legend, though, wasn’t at his brilliant best, finishing sixth (2:09:23). Compatriot Evans Chebet went on to claim consecutive Boston Marathon victories, winning in 2:05:54 in damp conditions.


The qualification window for Boston 2024 began September 2022, featuring some of the strictest time thresholds of any marathon in the world. For the 18-34 age bracket, for example, men must get under the three hour mark, while women must prove they can clock under three hours, thirty minutes.

Registration window: September 11-15, 2023

Registration will open on Monday, September 11 at 10am Eastern Time (local time in Boston) and close Friday, September 15, 2023 at 5 p.m. E.T. 

Applicants must submit their qualifying times during the firm registration window.

Race records

Men’s: 2:03:02 (Geoffrey Mutai, KEN, 2011)

Women’s: 2:19:59 (Buzunesh Deba, ETH, 2014)

Men’s Wheelchair: 1:18:04 (Marcel Hug, SUI, 2017)

Women’s Wheelchair: 1:28:17 (Manuela Schär, SUI, 2017)

Tigist Assefa World Record, Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1s
ALSO READ: The controversial ‘super shoe’ that’s all the rage right now in running

London Marathon 2024 date & qualification

Date: April 21, 2024 | DONE

Spectator estimation: 750,000

Starting back in 1981, this is one of the great marathon majors, taking place in one of the world’s truly prestigious cities.

The men’s record in the London Marathon was clocked last year, as the late and great Kelvin Kiptum smashed the course in a 2:01:25, while Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir has set a new mark in the women’s.


There are multiple qualification avenues to enter the TCS London Marathon, including ballot, through a tour operator, through charity and for those associated with British Athletics clubs.

Otherwise, for Championship entry, it’s a little more strict. Here is the Championship criteria, which includes strict cutoffs; for Men it’s running a sub-2:40:00 and Women’s requires a certified sub-3:14:00.

Race records

Men’s: 2:01:25 (Kelvin Kiptum, KEN, 2023)

Women’s: 2:16:16 (Peres Jepchirchir, KEN, 2024)

Men’s Wheelchair: 1:26:27 (Marcel Hug, SUI, 2021)

Women’s Wheelchair: 1:39:52 (Manuela Schär, SUI, 2017)

When is the Sydney Marathon?

Sunday, September 15, 2024

We’re an Aussie publication, which makes us a little bias, as we hotly anticipate the Harbour city becoming the next Marathon Major in the next couple of years. Things are on track for this reality to eventuate.

2023 Marathon Majors Schedule Summary

  • Tokyo: March 5 (done)
  • Boston: April 17 (done)
  • London: April 23 (done)
  • Berlin: September 29 (done)
  • Chicago: October 8 (done)
  • New York: November 3 (done)
Picture of Phil Prior
Phil Prior
Phil is the editorial lead at Only Sports, bringing more than 12 years of wide-ranging sports media experience to the team. But it’s his unrivalled passion that sets him apart. He also commentates AFL on SEN Radio, plus Rugby on Stan Sport. Find Phil on LinkedIn.

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