15 Dec

Masters, Majors And Marathons

Angela Copson

Abbott World Marathon Majors, the collective of the world's greatest 26.2 mile races including Virgin Money London Marathon, has announced its first global age-group ranking system and world championships for master athletes.

Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) is a series of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York. The organisers of these events are united in their efforts to advance the sport, raise awareness of professional athletes and increase interest in elite racing among running enthusiasts.
Now the spotlight is turning on many of the world's finest marathon exponents who happen to be over 40 years old. Commencing in September 2018 with BMW Berlin Marathon, the leading men and women in five year age groups from 40 to over 80 will earn points to qualify for the inaugural AWMM Age Group World Championships in the spring of 2020. 
The present world over 40 marathon record has been held since 2003 by Andres Espinoza (Mexico, 2:08:46) and the over 80 record was set by Ed Whitlock (Canada, 3:15:54) in 2011. The equivalent marks for women have been held by Ludmila Petrova (Russia, 2:25:43) since 2008 and Helen Klein (USA, 4:31:42) from 2002.
The best opportunity for a British world marathon best currently rests with new W70 Angela Copson (Rugby & Northampton), who is ranked third all time with 3:22:29 as an over-65. The current leading mark in the W70 category is 3:41:12 by Helga Miketta (Germany, 2011).
The best two results from an approved list of more than 25 marathons around the world will be used to rank competitors who will be invited to the AWMM world championships. The six AWMM races will be weighted, with ranking points automatically awarded. Other events will require time standards to be achieved for maximum points.
“There has been huge growth in marathon age group running and more than 125,000 runners aged 40 plus participate in AbbottWMM races each year,” said Tim Hadzima, AbbottWMM general manager. “Our series has celebrated the world’s best professional athletes for more than a decade and now it is time to formally celebrate the achievements of age group marathon runners and the truly inspiring stories of these everyday champions.”
Image courtesy Alex Rotas Photography