Dream #racecations: Marathon Majors


Tokyo. Boston. London. Berlin. Chicago. New York City.

If you’re not a runner, this might just sound like a list of fun places to visit – but if you are…you most likely know that these cities share a deeper connection that starts with “World” and ends with “Majors.”

World Marathon Majors – sounds pretty amazing, right?

Started in 2006, the organizers of the Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City created the Majors as a series with a prize purse of $1 million to be divided by the top male and female marathoners of the world. Of course, motivation like that attracts the most elite of the field and subsequently, draws the attention of many running enthusiasts, spectators and fans! In fact, according to the World Marathon Majors site, the impact is so overarching that it generates “more than 5 million total on-course spectators, more than 250 million television viewers, 300,000 applicants and 150,000 participants.” Oh, and between all the exciting events, more than $80 million is generated for charity world-wide! Win-win-win, right?!

Tokyo was added to the list in 2013, and with that, the Majors became the six most well-known and highlighted races in the world.


As a running enthusiast and marathon-lover, I have to admit that I have thought about a few of these races before…Boston, of course…but being half-Japanese, Tokyo has definitely crossed my mind! My parents will likely be living in Japan until about 2015 so it would be really awesome if I can get that race in!

Since I am not an elite, I am not in any rush to win and cash in my prize money (LOL) so completing all six ‘majors’ races is definitely a long-term goal of mine. It could take 5 years, 10 years or more…but I think that journey would be worth it, no matter how long it takes. And beyond the prestige of running this exceptional races…think of those fantastic racecations! My wanderlust just ignites at the very thought!

Have YOU run any of the Marathon Majors? Which ones? Which race would you run? Any you’re not interested in?

My friend Alyssa is raising money to run her dream race, the NYC Marathon! Check out HER LINK to help her along!!

21 thoughts on “Dream #racecations: Marathon Majors

  1. Ooh, I’ve run the Tokyo Marathon and LOVED it! It’s basically a running tour of the city – I ran behind this girl who kept stopping suddenly to take pictures.. and I was also overtaken by several very fit obaa-chan (grannies)!

    I also spent a week in Tokyo and Yamanashi Prefecture (I’ve been to Japan several times and have some friends there as my husband taught in rural Japan for a year) and managed to never eat the same thing twice. You need to enter a lottery to get in, as with many popular marathons, but I’ve also heard the deck is stacked towards gaijin because it helps boost tourism and the race’s international profile 😉

    • Oooh, glad to hear about the lottery preference…I should look into that soon…

  2. I’ve run New York and Chicago. Though I’m originally from Chicago, I’m partial to New York. It really is an absolutely amazing race. SO many spectators, an incredible start and finish. But I really want to run Berlin some day. I visited the city in 2006 and absolutely loved it. Plus, it’s such a fast course–so many world records set there!

    • I have never been ANYWHERE in Europe, can you believe it?! Ahhh…fast courses are always fun!!

  3. This year I’m lucky enough to run in 2 majors – Chicago AND New York! So obviously, I will now need to make this a Bucket List quest to run every single Marathon Major!

  4. I’d like to run London, Berlin, NYC, and Tokyo. Boston and Chicago just don’t really interest me? Maybe I’m broken 😉
    You obviously have to do Tokyo while your parents live there, right?!

    • LOL you are not broken! We all have our preferences 😀

      And yes, it would be silly if I didn’t go when my parents are still there….

  5. these are my dream runs … My 10 not in any particular order …
    1-Big Sur (ran in 2013)
    2 – NYC Marathon
    3 – Chicago Marathon
    4 – Boston Marathon
    5 – Disney Marathon
    6 – Athens Marathon
    7 – Great Wall Marathon in China
    8 – SF Marathon (ran 2010, 11, 12, & 13)
    9 – Mountains to Beach (formerly named Ojai to Ocean) Marathon
    10 – London Marathon

  6. Since London is my absolute favorite city, I’d love to run there. I think Berlin would be fantastic as well.

  7. I’ve ran Chicago and Boston. It is worth trying some of the big city races, but honestly, I am not a huge fan of them. There’s so much extra hassle with lots and lots of people. Not to mention expensive travel costs. I thought Shamrock was just the right size. Large enough that you are never alone but small enough that you have room to run at your own pace. Having said that, I would run Boston again, and I have family in England and would like to run London at some point.

    • I agree, Karen! Shamrock-sized races are great…tons of spectator support, but no hoopla or craziness when it comes to logistics and organization! The Baltimore Marathon was like this for me, and surprisingly, SF Marathon as well 😀

  8. […] this iconic Marathon Major has raved about it – yet still, it hasn’t called to me. In my own quest to achieve completion of these amazing races, I’ve ticked off two of six so far: Chicago and […]

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