Have you decided that it’s time to cross the marathon run off your bucket list, and now you are wondering how far is a marathon? Running a marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42 km) is a little more challenging than jogging in the park. It takes practice, time, and a lot of willpower. That’s not all.
The marathon training community uses terminology such as, “Running through the 6.” No, this does not refer to Drake’s emotional turmoil. However, if you take on the goal, it might lead to yours. Running through the 6 means taking part in not one, but six marathons.
You should read on if you are new to running, and essentially running a marathon. This essential guide will help you understand all the key facts and jargon of marathon running. You’ll get the lowdown on all marathon-based references (before you sign up for anything you might regret later).
What is a Marathon?
A marathon is a long-distance race that pushes your physical and mental capacity to its limit. A great deal of practice and training is necessary for the high-impact activity. A marathon is an extreme sporting event, which requires incredible determination and willpower to achieve.
However, competing and taking part in the globally-honored race brings a huge sense of achievement and pride. Great respect comes to those who participate.
How Far is a Marathon, and Why
In order to remain true to the ancient Olympic values, the organizers wanted to organize a commemorative event set at 26.2 miles (or 42.2 km). But why is the marathon set at such a strange distance?
Today’s version of the Olympics began back in 1896. The organizers wanted a hailed event to represent the core meaning of the Olympics. They wanted an event to signify the ancient Olympics, in order to uphold its key values.
The Olympics must reflect extreme determination, willpower and stamina, as it always had done. So, it was decided on a long-distance race. This would reflect the extreme distance Phillipedes ran to achieve Greek victory, several thousands years ago. It would be the perfect choice.
The initial marathon races were nearer to 25 miles. However, at the London Olympics, this distance was later increased to 26.2 miles. The race was distance was set according to the preference of Queen Alexandra.
The marathon began at Windsor Castle and finished some 26.2 miles (42.16 km) later, at the royal box just in front of the Olympic Stadium.This distance, set in 1921, became the official distance for a marathon.
What is ‘Running the 6’?
Running the 6 is the term given for competing in all 6 of the key marathons across the globe.
This is running all 6 Abbott World Marathon Majors. And, if you want to bag yourself the prize of being an Abbott Majors 6-star finisher, you are going to need some serious stamina, and do a great deal of planning.
The 6 marathon destinations on the running fanatic’s bucket list are Tokyo, London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, and New York.
How do You Register and Take Part in Running the 6?
Marathon has become hugely popular in recent years. The mecca of which seems to be competing in and running the 6. However, if competing in the races isn’t difficult enough, actually being able to qualify and register is a marathon in itself.
To bag yourself a 6-star medal, first, you must qualify. Strict criteria in place prevent the process of registration from being anything but easy. Each World Marathon Major has its own guidelines for this. Often you need to meet a minimum fundraising amount.
Alternatively, you can get your bib by partnering with a charity. Lastly, you can go down the other rather costly route of running with a tour group. This will guarantee entry.
Registration Top Tips
Registration criteria will vary depending on the country. Read on to discover some useful tips for each World Marathon entry.
Tokyo – Tokyo has a ‘Run As One Program’ designed for international runners who are at the top of their game. Meant for the superfast, it is referred to as the semi-elite entry. In order to qualify for these, men must be able to complete a marathon between 2:21:01 and 2:45:00. For women, it’s 2:52:01 – 3:30:00.
London – Fast qualifying times won’t get you anywhere if you are an international runner in London. It is a lottery gamble, whereby you enter between April – May. Notification of winners is announced later in the year.
Chicago – Firstly, there is the lottery entry, in which the winners do not find out until the actual weekend of the race. However, if you have run this 4 or 5 times before over the previous 10 years, you immediately qualify.
Furthermore, if you have run and finished the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K at least 4 times since the year 2000, again you will gain entry.
Berlin – Registration applications run from October – November, but you are not guaranteed entry. Should you be unsuccessful, you can try the lottery for your shot at being a part of this
New York City – To gain entry, you have to be within their time-frame criteria. This is quite tough. Should you not qualify, don’t worry. There is still the option to apply for their randomized draw. This draw takes place between January and February.
Alternatively, those who are New York City residents can apply to the 9 + 1 Program. This involves being a NY RR (New York Road Runner). You must sign up a year before the marathon. Next, you need to have run 9 official NY RR races, and also have volunteered at least once during that year. Phew, that is some commitment.
There is some good news: If you have run 15 New York City Marathons, you are immediately guaranteed entry for the rest of your life.