World Marathon Majors launches new age group event, ranking system

The World Marathon Majors (WMM) group has launched its first global age group marathon ranking system, along with a new Age Group World Championships event targeted at senior runners.

The new ranking system will launch in September 2018, with the Age Group World Championships to be held in the spring of 2020. The event will cover age groups for men and women from age 40 to 80 and over. A host city will be announced in due course.

WMM has launched the new system and competition in collaboration with its partners, healthcare company Abbott and Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group. Abbott is WMM’s title sponsor.

The ranking system will officially be titled the AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Rankings, with the new event to be known as the AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships.

The first qualifying period for the new event will begin on September 16, 2018, coinciding with the Berlin Marathon and the start of the WMM Series XII. It will end on September 29, 2019.

The best two results in select qualifying marathons over this period will count for each runner’s ranking, with top-ranked runners in each age group to qualify for the Age Group World Championships. The top age group runners from any country that has been represented in the qualifying period will be able to register.

WMM general manager Tim Hadzima said: “There has been huge growth in marathon age group running and now more than 125,000 runners aged 40+ participate in AbbottWMM races each year.

“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.”

Chris Miller, divisional vice-president, global brand strategy and innovation at Abbott, added: “Some of the best stories of health and achievement come from marathon runners. We’re pleased to recognise these men and women who lead their age classes, juggle demanding training schedules and inspire their friends and families to set big fitness goals. They’re a testament to what’s possible with good health.”

In April, Dalian Wanda struck its latest major sports deal by agreeing a strategic partnership with WMM in a move it said would lead to new races being developed in China and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Established in 2006, WMM is a series comprising six marathon majors in the cities of Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York; the marathon event at the International Association of Athletics Federations’ IAAF World Championships and the Olympic Games marathon.