What’s the costs of running the World Marathon Majors ( WMM ) ?

Since I started this journey, loads of people keep asking me how much is it exactly cost to run the races. But lets start with the beginning. If you new to running and have no idea about the majors, let me explain it to you briefly.

What is the Abbot World Marathon Majors?

The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a series consisting of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world. The races take place in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City.

So simple is that, the 6 biggest marathons all around the world, 3 in North America, 2 in Europe and 1 in Asia.

When you complete all 6 races, your name will go onto the Abbot’s Wall Of Fame, and you’ll be rewarded with a special 6 star medal. If you lucky you can run all 6 races in a calendar year, or run them in a much slower pace. At this moment there is no time limit to complete them . I gave myself a 3 year time limit, which means 2 in every year.

London – New York = 2017

Berlin – Chicago = 2018

Tokyo – Boston = 2019


Now back to the most important and serious part, finances.

How much does it really cost to run the races?

There are a few options, but I start with the cheapest options, which is when you are successfully gained entry via the lottery  / fast runner systems. Then after that I’ll explain how did I managed to get my entries.

  1.  Cheapest option – via 5 lottery drawing + 1 qualification

For 5 races out of the 6, you can get in via lottery drawing ( Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York ) and for Boston you’ll need to run fast. You will need to get a qualifying time.

Let me get this straight, there’s really no cheap option. Yes, the race entries are not too bad, but you still going to need to travel. If you are from the US you can travel to the US races much cheaper, then someone from Europe ( like me ). But you still need accommodation, spending money, new running gear ect.

All 6 races have charity entries and Tour operator entries, but in this part I only focusing on the cheapest option, which is the Lottery or the Fast runner entries.

Tokyo Marathon:

Date: 1st Sunday of March

Entry fee if successful in the lottery:

Japan residents – 10,800 Yen  ( £73 )

Overseas residents – 12,800 Yen ( £86 )

The application period is usually in August, and the drawing takes place in Mid September.

Tokyo also has a scheme called ” RUN as ONE ” which is their fast runner scheme, but they only have 300 places for this. Also for this only residents outside of Japan can apply.

  • Men’s Full Marathon 2:21:01 〜 2:45:00
  • Women’s Full Marathon 2:52:01 〜 3:30:00

Tour operator: I haven’t found a list on their website unfortunately. The only 2 official operators I’m aware of : 2:09 events and Sport tours international

Charity application : 4000 guaranteed spots on the first come first get in basis. Have to pay the fundraising fee ahead. https://www.marathon.tokyo/en/charity/

London Marathon:

Date : usually the 3rd Sunday of April

Entry fee if successful in the lottery:

UK residents – £39 ( or £35 if you are a member of a UK-affiliated running club )

Overseas residents – £80

The application period is in May, and its usually only for 5 days, and the drawing takes place in October.

Also for London you can get in if you are part of a UK running club, they get a few places every year. The other option to get in via the Championship Entry, which means you’ll need to get a qualifying time. These 2 option are only open for UK residents thou.

Tour operators : Only for residents outside if the UK https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/how-to-enter/overseas-entry/

Charity application : https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/charity/run-charity/listings/UK/

Berlin Marathon:

Date: usually the 3rd Sunday of September

Entry fee if successful in the lottery:

Any residents – €108  ( £95 )

The application period last year was in Mid September – Beginning of October, and the drawing takes place in the end of November – beginning of December.

Also for this race small teams ( 2-3 people ) can enter as well, they have the same application window and the price is the same. Not too sure if their chances are better than the single participants.

Berlin also have a Fast runners scheme. Everyone who finished an AIMS-certified marathon in the last two years  under a specified time and can prove it with a list of results or race certificate qualifies to receive a starting spot once we have verified the submitted information. They will need to pay the same entry fee of €108.

Tour operators : http://www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com/en/plan-your-race/tour-operators/

Charity application : http://www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com/en/plan-your-race/charity.html

Chicago Marathon:

Date: usually the 1st Sunday of October

Entry fee if successful in the lottery / guaranteed entry:

  • U.S. residents (those who live in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories): $195 (USD) ( £140 )
  • Non-U.S. residents: $220 (USD) ( £157 )

The application period last year was in end of October – end of November., and the drawing took place on the 12th of December.

Chicago also have a Guaranteed entry option:

  • Time qualifier: Runners who have met the event’s age graded qualifying standards or qualify for the event’s American Development Program.
  • Legacy finisher: Runners who have completed the Chicago Marathon five or more times within the last 10 years.
  • 2017 Cancelled entry: Runners who cancelled their 2017 entry through the event deferment/cancellation policy.
  • Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle: Runners who have completed the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K four or more times since 2000 and have signed up for the 2018 Shamrock Shuffle.

Tour operators : https://www.chicagomarathon.com/charity-community/international-tour-group-program/

Charity application : https://www.chicagomarathon.com/charity-community/charity-program/

New York Marathon:

Date: usually the 1st Sunday of November

Entry fee if successful in the lottery / guaranteed entry:

  • U.S. residents (those who live in the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia)
    • NYRR members: US $255 ( £182 )
    • Non-members: US $295 ( £211 )
  • Non-U.S. residents: US $358 ( £256 )

The application period  was from the 15 January –  15 February , and the drawing took place on the 28th of February.

New York also have a few guaranteed entry options:

  • Entrants Through the 9+1 or 9+$1K Program
  • Entrants Who Officially Cancelled Their Entry to the next TCS New York City Marathon
  • Runners Who Have Completed 15 New York City Marathons
  • Time Qualifiers

Tour operator : https://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/plan-your-race/international-travel-partners

Charity application : https://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/plan-your-race/run-for-charity

Boston Marathon: 

Date: always on Patriots day

As I said at the beginning, this race is totally different from the other 5.

There is no lottery for this race, you’ll need to get a qualifying time to be able to get into the race, of course if you want the cheapest option.

Entry fee via time qualification:

U.S. residents – $185.00 (USD) ( £132 )

International residents – $250.00 (USD)  ( £180 )

Boston Marathon has a “rolling admission” schedule, beginning with the fastest qualifiers. Runners will be seeded based on qualifying time. The date you are allowed to register will correspond with the amount of time by which you’ve beat your qualifying standard. For more info click HERE, this is the official site and explains it really well.

Tour operators : Since B.A.A. updated their website they took off the official tour operator list. I saved it in a PDF so happy to email it to anyone 🙂 Also only non USA / Canadian residents can apply via this route.

Charity application : https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/charity-program

   2. How did I got into the races? 

Because I’m not a fast runner and I havent had any luck with the lotteries I’ve already paid a lot. Most of these prices just for the entry, doesn’t include airfare or hotels. The only good thing is that luckily i get great price on train fares , so mostly that’s free.

If you light-hearted and don’t want to get a shock do not read any further lol

London Marathon 2017:

Charity entry –  the cheapest I’ve found was with a charity called MACS and they have requested to raise £1250. I’ve raised about £500 and the rest was paid out from my pocket.

New York Marathon 2017:

Official tour operator – 2:09 events UK

Their flights + entry package cost me £1200

Berlin Marathon 2018:

Charity entry– The cheapest I’ve found was with Prostate cancer UK and they asked me to raise £500. Because i feel bad asking money from friends and family I’ve paid this off as well. I don’t feel that others should pay for my races, even though all the money going to charities.

Chicago Marathon 2018:

Charity entry – it’s with a Chicago based charity called Paws Chicago, and they asked me to raise $1000 ( £717 ). It’s the same as Berlin, because I feel bad asking money from friends and family I’ve paid this off as well. I don’t feel that others should pay for my races, even though all the money going to charities.

Tokyo Marathon 2019:

** Update ** I’ve got into Tokyo via the charity option. Link here

Charity entry – But because the registration hasn’t opened for 2019 I can’t say I’ve got a guaranteed place. But when they open it up in July I’ll apply for a place. Their charity called ” Run with Heart ” and they have 4000 spots, it’s a first come first get registration. The money need to be paid is 100 000 Yen ( £680 ).

Boston Marathon 2019: 

** Update ** I’ve got into Boston via 2:09 events registration. Link here.

Official tour operator – 2:09 events UK or Sport Tours International.

Their prices will include : flight  + entry + hotel for 4 nights

Because none of them started their registration process I can’t say what their fees will be for 2019, but 2:09 events prices for 2018 were:

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 15.41.58

The final balance is due 10 weeks before travel.

So that’s all, it’s definitely expensive but my motto is ” We only live once ” so at the end it’s all worth it 🙂 And to be honest I’m good with savings , once I set my mind into something I save up for it.

When I got my entry confirmation for Tokyo & Boston I’ll update this post.

Since I’ve wrote this post I managed to get into Tokyo and also to Boston as well. Click on the links to read more about them.

If any of you have any question about any of the races please do not hesitate to contact with me.



3 Comments on “What’s the costs of running the World Marathon Majors ( WMM ) ?”

  1. Good job! Congratulations on completing first two marathons. My first will be in April 2019 in London. I can’t wait. I am running through the charity too and probably will pay a good portion of fundraising requirements by my self too. But this is just money. The experience, emotions, and memory cost much more!! 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂 You will love London, it’s an awesome race. I loved every minute of it. The whole race day is totally well organised and everyone was so supportive and friendly. Which charity you running for? totally agree with you, the memory worth it all, and noone can take this away from us. Good luck 🙂

  2. Pingback: Mi is az a World Marathon Majors? Hogyan lehet jelentkezni? – Gabi Runs

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: