The biggest and most spectacular marathon races have merged together and founded the Big Five. The BAA Boston Marathon, the Flora London Marathon, the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON, the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and the ING New York City Marathon form this ,Formula 1’ of road running. A more detailed concept of the Big Five will be introduced by the beginning of next year. Mary Wittenberg, Race Director of the ING New York City Marathon, describes the goals and visions of the Big Five as follows:
As runners, we are always aiming high, striving to improve, and pushing the limits. Just as each of us is driven to reach for the next level in our sport, so are we driven at New York Road Runners to take the sport as a whole to the highest possible level. We are fortunate to have colleagues in the running world who are similarly driven. Last month at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland, we stood with the other major big city marathons around the world - those in London, Boston, Berlin, and Chicago -and shared our common vision for the sport and our commitment to work together to achieve that vision. Our vision includes a sport where the world tunes in year round to watch the world’s best athletes in the most spectacular and compelling of participatory sports.
It includes a world where our star athletes are household names and where young adults translate their childhood passion for running into healthy lifestyles- and international excellence. Finally, it includes a world that is better off due to our commitment to community service. Our group, informally dubbed the Big Five, is striving together to improve your race experience - whether you are pro or a fitness runner, a member of the media, or a fan on the street.
We seek to work together as well in other areas, from marketing to technology to introducing a competitive initiative that ties our races together and provides a broader context to our individual competitions, similar to the global success sports like tennis and golf have achieved with the concept of the Grand Slam and the Majors. Stay tuned as we move forward. We could sit back and be satisfied with where we are today. But instead, we are opting to push ahead into uncharted territories.