The idea is simple. Run the six most widely recognised, and arguably most important, marathons in the world. When you do, you will receive a Six Star WMM Finisher’s Medal from the sponsors, Abbott Healthcare. That’s in addition to the individual medal you receive at the end of each of the marathon you complete on your journey.
To date, less than four thousand runners worldwide have achieved this feat and, as you would expect, that includes a number of Irish runners. In fact, demographically speaking, we are punching above our weight.
So here’s a more detailed rundown on each of these special marathons. The great news is that Sports Travel International can offer you a guaranteed entry to each and every one of them, as part of a tour package. For details on all our packages, please see HERE.
The first official Tokyo Marathon took place in February 2007, but even before that running had a long and proud tradition in Japan. Since then, Tokyo has become one of the most popular marathons on the planet, and Japan’s most iconic. The Tokyo Maathon is the newest edition to Abbott Marathon Majors, becoming the sixth star in 2013.
With only 37,500 places it is one of the most difficult marathons to enter. In 2019 the Tokyo Marathon drew over 331,211 applicants. This equates to an oversubscription rate of around 10.8 times.
Due to the global COVID- 19 outbreak, the 2020 Tokyo Marathon was contested as an elite race only. Due to the resulting entry rollovers; there will be a very limited number of event entries available for the 2021 edition of the race.
36,000 places. Free to register, with a lottery system utilised to select entrants. Through the lottery, you have less than a 10% chance of selection. The ballot system opens at the start of August, and remains open for 1 month.
The Run as One entry is available to just 300 international runners. To be eligible for one of these entries women and men must run a sub 3.30 and sub 2.45 marathon respectively.
There is also a limited availability of charity entries.
Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Travel International.
Sports Travel International will have only a limited number of entry and accommodation packages available for the 2021 Tokyo Marathon. If however, you’re looking for an alternative early season marathon, you might want want to consider the 2021 Paris Marathon or you can join us at the 2021 edition of the Acea Run Rome the Marathon.
One of the most popular races in the world, the annual Boston Marathon is famously difficult to gain entry into and, as the oldest marathon in the world is on almost every marathon runner’s bucket list. The race dates back to 1897. Boston is also one of the friendliest cities in the USA, a walkable city, which is the cradle of American civilisation, where the Irish are always welcome.
Each year the marathon starts on Patriots’ Day (a Monday) at Hopkinton village in the beautiful Massachusetts countryside, and finishes in downtown Boston. In 2019 the field will be limited to around 30,000 runners, less than the other five World Marathon Majors. Most of the runners gain entry by achieving tough qualifying times based on their age.
In 2020, the global COVID- 19 outbreak led to the Boston Marathon being made a virtual only event. This meant that, for the first time in over 120 years, there was to be no marathon on the streets of Boston in 2020. The Boston Marathon has a smaller field than any of the other marathon majors, and the resulting entry rollovers from 2020 mean that competition for 2021 entries is likely to be even tougher than ever before.
The Boston Marathon will return to the road, for its 125th edition, on 19th April 2021.
Participants can attempt to gain entry by meeting a set qualifying standard. However this time does not guarantee entry. The qualifiers are accepted, from fastest first, until places are full. This means that you could meet the qualifying standard by some margin but you still don’t get in. Your qualifying time needs to have been achieved before September if you want to be taken into consideration for entry the following year. Entries for US runners cost about $180 and International runners who qualify will have to pay about $240.
Achieving the set qualifying standard does not guarantee your entry. It simply grants you the opportunity to submit for registration. See the current qualifying standards below:
|AGE GROUP||QUALIFYING STANDARD||QUALIFICATION TIMES ACCEPTED (faster than and including)|
|18-34||3hrs 00min 00sec||2hrs 58min 21sec|
|35-39||3hrs 05min 00sec||3hrs 03min 21sec|
|40-44||3hrs 10min 00sec||3hrs 08min 21sec|
|45-49||3hrs 20min 00sec||3hrs 18min 21sec|
|50-54||3hrs 25min 00sec||3hrs 23min 21sec|
|55-59||3hrs 35min 00sec||3hrs 33min 21sec|
|60-64||3hrs 50min 00sec||3hrs 48min 21sec|
|65-69||4hrs 05min 00sec||4hrs 03min 21sec|
|70-74||4hrs 20min 00sec||4hrs 18min 21sec|
|75-79||4hrs 35min 00sec||4hrs 33min 21sec|
|80 and over||4hrs 50min 00sec||4hrs 48min 21sec|
|AGE GROUP||QUALIFYING STANDARD||QUALIFICATION TIMES ACCEPTED (faster than and including)|
|18-34||3hrs 30min 00sec||3hrs 28min 21sec|
|35-39||3hrs 35min 00sec||3hrs 33min 21sec|
|40-44||3hrs 40min 00sec||3hrs 38min 21sec|
|45-49||3hrs 50min 00sec||3hrs 48min 21sec|
|50-54||3hrs 55min 00sec||3hrs 53min 21sec|
|55-59||4hrs 05min 00sec||4hrs 03min 21sec|
|60-64||4hrs 20min 00sec||4hrs 18min 21sec|
|65-69||4hrs 35min 00sec||4hrs 33min 21sec|
|70-74||4hrs 50min 00sec||4hrs 48min 21sec|
|75-79||5hrs 05min 00sec||5hrs 03min 21sec|
|80 and over||5hrs 20min 00sec||5hrs 18min 21sec|
Guaranteed entries, with travel packages, are available through Sports Tours International. You also do not need to have achieved a qualifying time when booking through us, but interest is high, so you will need to join our waitlist. You can try to gain entry through a charity, but there are only about 2,500 charity entries up for grabs, and often these charity places come with high fundraising commitments. Alternatively, you can test yourself at one of our other popular spring marathons such as the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll half/full Marathon, or you can try something completely different, at the breathtakingly beautiful, Two Oceans Ultra and Half Marathon in South Africa.
Since its inception in 1981 (a year after Dublin!), the London Marathon has been recognised as a leading event on the world sporting calendar. It has achieved legendary status for its mix of first-class elite fields with heart-warming examples of ordinary people running extraordinary marathons. This is a world-class city , backed by superb organisation, and wildly enthusiastic supporters. Millions are raised for charity every year by runners in the London Marathon and it holds the Guinness world record as the largest annual fundraising event.
Starting from Blackheath near Greenwich, the course runs through many famous London districts and past many landmarks, including the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. It finishes at the Mall in the heart of the city.
The course is mostly flat and remains largely unchanged since 1981. The Finish Line is open for at least 8 hours and the minimum age for participants is 18 years. Our tour offers a wide choice of transport options, and you can stay for either 3 or 4 nights (with additional nights available on request. We also provide the comfort of a private coach on race day from our hotel in central London to the start in Blackheath. You make your own way back! In fact, the finish line is not that far away.
A record total of 457,861 people entered the ballot for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. The race was then sadly postponed, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Due to these record breaking ballot figures, and deferrals and rollover charity entries brought about by the event postponement, we imagine that entry for the world’s most over subscribed marathon is only going to get tougher!
It is very difficult to get into the London Marathon. The ballot opens for a short window of just 5 days, during the month of May, and is the most over subscribed marathon ballot in the world. You will find out if you are in when you receive a magazine in October. There are plenty of charity options, but many have fairly high fundraising requirements.
You can attempt to qualify for a ‘Good for Age’ spot, but the times are pretty tough to achieve and you need to apply for this by mid June.
The Good for Age qualifying times accepted for the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon are:
|Men||Time (in hours)||Women||Time (in hours)|
|Age 18-39||sub 2:57:20||Age 18-39||sub 3:40:45|
|Age 40-44||sub 3:02:20||Age 40-44||sub 3:45:45|
|Age 45-49||sub 3:07:20||Age 45-49||sub 3:48:45|
|Age 50-54||sub 3:12:20||Age 50-54||sub 3:55:45|
|Age 55-59||sub 3:17:20||Age 55-59||sub 4:00:45|
|Age 60-64||sub 3:42:20||Age 60-64||sub 4:25:45|
|Age 65-69||sub 3:57:20||Age 65-69||sub 4:55:45|
|Age 70-74||sub 4:57:20||Age 70-74||sub 5:55:45|
|Age 75-79||sub 5:12:20||Age 75-79||sub 6:15:45|
|80+||sub 5:27:20||80+||sub 6:35:45|
Sports Travel International are proud to be an official travel partner of the Virgin Money London Marathon. We have guaranteed entry and accommodation packages for anyone who wishes to take the stress out of their London Marathon experience. If, however, you decide to leave running the UK to another year, but still want an unforgettable race experience, we are delighted to announce that we have greatly increased our offering of adventure marathons for 2021, and, in the Month of May, can offer you both the Great Wall Marathon and the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, to wet your appetite for adventure!
The Berlin Marathon has been held annually, usually on the last weekend of September, since 1974. It starts and finishes close to the famous Brandenburg Gate. Before the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, runners were restricted as to where they could actually run. But once the country was finally reunited, runners could at last run through both halves of the formerly divided city.
2018 saw a truly historic moment when Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge broke the world record, completing the course in a dazzling 2:01:39. Sub two hours cannot be far off.The course is flat, traffic-free and fast. The world record has been broken four times in Berlin in the past six years, making it the perfect marathon to run your PB. The finish line closes after 6 hours 15 minutes.The Breakfast Run (6K) on Saturday morning is also one of the best anywhere. The run finishes in the historic 96,000-seater Olympic Stadium, scene of the 1936 Olympics and where the World Cup Final took place in 2006.
We offer guaranteed entry and three nights in a top central hotel, from which you can explore Berlin’s many attractions.Sadly, due to the global COVID – 19 outbreak, the 2020 edition of the Berlin Marathon had to be cancelled. Due to the number of entry rollovers that this has created, we expect competition for entries to the 2021 race to be high. Sports Travel International will however still have a limited number of entries and accommodation packages available, so you can still secure your Berlin Dream.
As Berlin has gained such reputation for speed and is the World Marathon record course, it has seen unprecedented increase in popularity over recent years. This is a sell out Marathon and you have to enter the ballot to have a chance of securing an entry. In excess of 100,000 people enter the ballot and entrants have only a 16% chance of success. Entering the ballot is free and the ballot opens mid October. Race entry costs €110, if you win a spot in the ballot and you will find out whether your entry was successful in November. If you don’t get in through the ballot, there will be charity entries available, but these usually have a minimum fundraising target.
Alternatively, Berlin offers qualification places to ‘fast runners’. The minimum qualifying times as follows:
Male Runners: Age 18 to 44: under 2:45 hours | Male Runners Age 45 to 59: under 2:55 hours| Male Runners Age 60 and up: under 3:25 hours.
Female Runners: Age 18 to 44: under 3:00 hours| Female Runners Age 45 to 59 : under 3:20 hours| Female Runners Age 60 and up : under 4:10 hours.
If you’d rather a less competitive and more lighthearted running experience; we also offer entries and packages for the always a sell out, Marathon du Medoc. The Medoc Marathon is a celebration of all things ‘the good life’ – food, wine, and of course running. All at the same time! Fancy dress is not only encouraged at this event, its compulsory – not an experience you’d be likely to forget in a hurry!
Known as the second city (because it burnt down in 1871), Chicago is famous for its stunning architecture and beautiful Lake Michigan – and as home to the Blues.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the best in the world and the city itself is full of life – one of America’s greatest. Up to 55,000 runners take part in the marathon, and there is huge crowd support around the course. Live bands add to the atmosphere.
The flat, loop course is also one of the fastest in the world! The average temperature at the start is a cool 7oC, rising to a pleasant 13oC at the finish.The start/finish is in lovely Grant Park in the city centre and the course passes through 29 of Chicago’s historic and ethnic neighbourhoods. The finish line closes after 6 hours 30 minutes. Minimum age of participants is 16 years. Successful ballot entries account for just over 50% of the field at the Chicago Marathon (53%) with another 36% being qualified runners. Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Travel International. The limit for registered entrants is usually reached as early as 6 months before race day.
Runners can gain an automatic ticket to the starting line by achieving specific qualifying times, set for their age and gender. The new time standards are a strategy for race organizers to give all participants an equal chance to qualify for guaranteed entry, regardless of age or gender. In the past, the time qualifier guaranteed-entry option only applied to men who ran 3:15 or faster and women who had a sub-3:45 race to their names, no matter what their age.
The following standards, achieved on an IAAF-certified course to Chicago for 2021:
The ballot system is only open from the end of October until the end of November, and the results are announced in the second week of December. Entering the ballot entry is free. You can earn a guaranteed entry if you’ve run the race five times in the previous ten years. There are numerous charities that typically have fundraising minimums.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Chicago Marathon was sadly cancelled in 202o, however will return for 2021, and we expect demand to be higher and, due to the high number of rollover entries, there to be less ballot entries available than ever before! Guaranteed entries are available with travel packages through Sports Travel International.
If, however, you want to experience a Marathon closer to home; Sports Travel International can offer guaranteed entries and accommodation packages for the Amsterdam Marathon or we can give you the authentic and original marathon experience in Greece in Athens .
New York the City needs no introduction and neither does its marathon. It is the biggest (over 50,000 participants), and for many, the best marathon in the world. The buzz is unbelievable.
The Marathon starts on Staten Island and runs through all 5 city boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan). It finishes in iconic Central Park; beautiful in its autumnal glory.
Walkers as well as runners are welcome to participate as the Finish Line is open for at least 8 hours. As on all of our tours, we welcome non-running partners, family and friends – a great time is guaranteed! The TCS New York City Marathon is one of the world’s greatest participatory events and it is also a wonderful spectacle for supporters..The Abbott Dash to the Finish Line takes place the day before the main event – a 5K fun run from the United Nations, down 42nd St, through Times Square, to its conclusion at the Marathon Finish Line in Central Park. Fun!
In previous years, runners had around a 16% – 18% chance of getting in through the ballot. However, more recently these chances have shrunk significantly. In 2019 for example there were close to 117,000 total lottery entrants, all trying to get their hands on one of just 10,500 places (around a 10% chance of success). The window for entering the ballot is usually from around January 30, 2021, until February 13, 2021. After the application process has closed, there is a 2-week waiting period before you find out if you have secured a place. On around February 26th, NYRR will announce which runners have gained entry this year. Runners not accepted into the event can still get entry via charities, or book to travel and race with Sports Travel International.
Qualification for the TCS New York City Marathon is gained by running fast enough to meet the time standards at the following NYRR races: Fred Lebow Half-Marathon, United Airlines NYC Half, SHAPE Women’s Half-Marathon, Popular® Brooklyn Half, NYRR Staten Island Half, TCS New York City Marathon.
A limited number of time-qualifier spots are available to runners competing at a non-NYRR race. These spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Verification will be completed prior to the 2021 entry drawing.
The 2020 New York City Marathon was set to be the 50th edition of the event, it was however cancelled, as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic. 2021 will now see this landmark edition of the race. Due to the already high demand for this year’s race, and the number of deferrals and roll over entries, it is likely this year that it will be more difficult than ever before to secure your place!
For an inclusive and unforgettable ace experience, you need look no further than Rundisney race experience. Disneyland Paris Run Weekend offers a fun filled and magical running experience for the whole family!
#MondayMotivation Together Everyone Achieves More the running clubs and teams who travel together bring out extra positivity on our trips. We can't wait to get back on the road and help you take on amazing events across the world #IrelandsSportsTravelExperts pic.twitter.com/GdCkuBn2gI
The team who pull your amazing trips together, up first it's Fidelma. A proud Dubliner with a fantastic connection with our customers and a personality that keeps us smiling. Have a read of blog to find out more about Fidelma or as we know her Fids. sportstravelinternational.com…
Want a feel good story? Check this out ⬇️ The greatest athlete of all time? He thinks so. Brilliant positivity in this article rte.ie/news/leinster/…
Whenever the day comes that we are back on the startline of a brilliant marathon, it sure will be a special day. If you could pick any start line in the world to go to right now, where would you go? #IrelandsSportsTravelExperts pic.twitter.com/3GNiYeQOPH
#FeelGoodFriday - Oh to feel as jolly as this bunch in Chicago. Great memories and our trips always make us feel positive because every runner has a unique story to tell. We hope to hear even more brilliant stories on our trips in the future #IrelandsSportsTravelExperts pic.twitter.com/SgMMI3yZh8