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5 Reasons to Join the Sydney Marathon, an Abbott World Marathon Major Candidate

A re-designed full marathon course and new 7-hour cut off time are just two of many reasons to join the Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS


Runners the world over have all heard of the six prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors. While there are over 800 marathons organised annually around the globe, only six are granted the most prestigious and sought-after star.

Each of the six require an annual balloting process to gain entry for participation, while the Boston Marathon also requires a qualifying timing that needs to be met outside of gaining entry via the running for charity or fund donation program.


In July last year, the Abbott World Marathon Majors announced its intention to expand to a seventh marathon by 2025, and shared that three races are in the running with Australia’s Sydney Marathon as a firm favourite for candidacy. South Africa’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and China’s Chengdu Marathon make up two of the other three candidates.

So what makes the Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS so appealing and such a strong candidate to be the seventh World Marathon Major? examines five reasons that make Sydney a great marathon choice and the city to host a World Marathon Major.


1. Unquestionable Popularity and Credibility

To qualify as a World Marathon Major, each candidate needs to meet strict criterias on participation, organisation, certification, sustainability and legacy.

Not only has the Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS traditionally been an extremely well-organised event, it has consistently achieved IAAF Road Race Gold Label status and is the only Australian marathon broadcasted LIVE on television each year.

The event is also hugely popular among runners of all levels - from beginners to elites, with over 40,000 participants from over 66 countries, raising over $23 million dollars for charitable organisations since its inception.

As of time of writing, the 2023 Sydney Marathon is Australia's biggest ever marathon and already has over 15,000 sign-ups for the full-marathon category, and is sold out for its 21.1km half-marathon category where you can't even get a slot via the wait list.


2. One of the World's Most Scenic Courses

While some may say that the Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS has a slightly more hilly course profile than others, few can argue that it isn't one of the world's most scenic courses. From running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to finishing at the Sydney Opera House, runners can expect breathtaking skylines and stunning views.

In April 2023, organisers of the Sydney Marathon announced some major changes and a new course compared to its usual route that has been done over the years. Race Director Wayne Larden explained the reason for the change.

"The original marathon course that we’ve been running for a number of years was set up to maximise the views for runners and wasn’t set up to maximise the experience that people could enjoy, nor their own comfort. And that’s an important distinction for us as we look to qualify for the Majors over the next two years," he said.


3. Melting Pot of Cultures and Heritage

Undoubtedly Australia's largest and most well-known city, runners who join the Sydney Marathon will have the chance to experience the beautiful white sandy beaches of Bondi Beach, Instagramable picturesque photos and videos against the Sydney Opera House, the ever-fascinating vibey harbour, and majestic and iconic steel arch of the Harbour Bridge.

4. Incredible Array of Course Entertainment

A world class event, the Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS now boasts 27 live entertainment zones on course, making it a real party for runners to enjoy the world over while trying to complete those arduous 42.195 kilometres.

From live music to performances, runners can now expect more than just fans and cheer zones to push them on to the finish line.

Sydney Marathon race course. PHOTO: SYDNEY MARATHON

5. Family-Friendly and Inclusive Running Event for All Walks of Life

The Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS is part of a running festival, and was formerly known as the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. The event boasts four unforgettable courses, across four distances: Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km and the Family 3.5km Fun Run.

Starting from 6am with the half marathon, followed by the 10K, marathon and 3.5k fun run it has a race for everyone, and now features a very generous 7 hour time limit for the full-marathon to allow all runners to participate and enjoy the marathon route.

The Marathon itself now features a fresh new course that flows better with more roadways and less 180 degree bends for a more enjoyable marathon experience.

Looking to join an overseas race? The Sydney Marathon, presented by ASICS, is a candidate race to become the seventh Abbott World Marathon Major. Offering one of the world's most scenic courses, participants who join the Sydney Marathon from 2022 to 2024 will gain automatic entry into the event when it becomes a WMM major in 2025.

Sign up for the Sydney Marathon and find out more about Australia's biggest marathon here.


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