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The Sydney Marathon is one step closer to becoming a Major


sydney marathon, major status

One giant step.

The Sydney Marathon has advanced to the second stage of the candidacy process to become one of the world’s premiere running events.

We’ve known for some time it’s been hunting Major status and the latest news confirms that everything is on track.

This latest development relates to an assessment by an international delegation from Abbott World Marathon Majors.

So here’s more.

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How close is the Sydney Marathon to Major status?

While not officially confirmed just yet, the Sydney Marathon is one step closer to realising its dream, after the international delegations assessment. In order for its status as a major to be confirmed, the event will be required to meet strict criteria at next year’s contest on 15 September, 2024.

“The 2023 Sydney Marathon has made significant improvements in a number of areas where we required it to raise standards following its 2022 events,” explained AbbottWMM chief executive officer 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,” she said.

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Betsy Saina crosses the Sydney Marathon finish line

Criteria for marathon’s elevation to Major status includes meeting certain participation thresholds, as well as organisational standards, certification, event sustainability and legacy.

The Sydney event is heavily boosted by its strong ties to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, which many claim to be the greatest Olympics in modern history.

Should Sydney’s efforts prove successful come September 2024, it will become the first race added to the Major series since the introduction of the Tokyo Marathon in 2013, chasing an induction into the illustrious Abbott World Marathon Majors ‘club’ in 2025.

Becoming a Major marathon would place Sydney within a series of events that are of the highest interest on the running calendar, including the New York City Marathon, Berlin, Boston, Chicago the London Marathon.

Destination New South Wales CEO, Steve Cox, believes the Sydney Marathon is a premiere event, with its potential progression to major status a remarkable outcome.

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

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

“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 marathons events in the world in 2025.”

Sydney Marathon, 2023, Major
Othmane El Goumri approaches the Sydney Marathon finish line

Wayne Larden, Sydney Marathon Race Director believes 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.”

Mr Larden alluded to 2023’s record breaking year looking likely to be broken by the time 2024 falls around, with the event already receiving thousands more registrations compared to this time last year. 

“The event is on track to achieve more record numbers again in 2024,” he added.

2023’s event, attended by thousands of runners both casual and elite, began in Milsons Point and charted a complex and tough course through the glorious Sydney CBD, before finally concluding in front of the picturesque Opera House, with Sydney’s iconic harbour behind it.

Achieving World Major status would have significant benefits for the race, including attracting the cream of the global long distance running fraternity, as well as widespread, international media coverage.

From an economic viewpoint, the event’s Major status would bring tens of thousands of tourists and spectators into the harbour city each year, providing a major injection of funding and atmosphere to Sydney.

Step by step.

sydney marathon, majors
Swarms of people lining the street out the front of Sydney’s iconic Luna Park
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Kyle Robbins
Kyle is a senior sports writer and producer at Only Sports who lives and breathes sport, with a particular burning passion for everything soccer, rugby league, and cricket. You’ll most commonly find him getting overly hopeful about the Bulldogs and Chelsea’s prospects. Find Kyle on LinkedIn.

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