The World Marathon Majors on Friday morning announced that the family has a new member: the Tokyo Marathon. With the seventh edition of the event scheduled for February 24, 2013, the Tokyo race will be the first in the 2013-2014 World Marathon Majors series.
Founded in 2006 by the Boston, Virgin London, BMW Berlin, Bank of America Chicago, and ING New York City Marathons, the WWM series offers a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners in the world, decided each year on a points basis.
This is the first expansion of the WWM since its inception.
“Tokyo is honored to join the World Marathon Majors,” said Tad Hayano, race director of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation. "As the first marathon from Asia, we will continuously make an effort to expand the brand of the WMM in Asia. Likewise, as the one of the World Marathon Majors, we believe that the Tokyo Marathon can make an even more positive contribution to the world marathon scene by working with our new partners."
In a joint statement from the World Marathon Majors race directors, Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association and Boston Marathon, added, "We at World Marathon Majors are delighted to have Tokyo join our group. The Japanese have a magnificent history and tradition in the marathon, and the Japanese people have long embraced the marathon and distance running in general. They are among the finest fans in the world for our sport."
The inaugural Tokyo Marathon was held on February 18, 2007 and drew 95,044 applicants and 30,870 participants; by 2012 it had grown to more than 300,000 applicants and nearly 36,000 participants. In 2013, it will double as the Japanese men’s national team trials for the 14th IAAF World Championships Marathon in Moscow.
Last year’s race was won by Michael Kipyego of Kenya in 2:07:37 and Atsede Habtamu of Ethiopia in 2:25:28.
In addition to the six other races, the IAAF World Championships and Olympic marathons also serve as scoring events in the years in which they are held.
“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 Championship are to golf. 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.” Mary Wittenberg