Tokyo Marathon joins Majors series

The Feb. 24 Tokyo Marathon will kick off the 2013-14 World Marathon Majors scoring period. Timeout.jp

NEW YORK CITY -- The World Marathon Majors has announced the addition of the Tokyo Marathon to the World Marathon Majors Series. The seventh Tokyo Marathon, which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, will be the first race in the 2013-14 WMM scoring period. The Tokyo Marathon is the first WMM event to be based in Asia.

"Tokyo is honored to join the World Marathon Majors," said Tad Hayano, Tokyo Marathon Foundation race director. "As the first marathon from Asia, we will continuously make an effort to expand the brand of the WMM in Asia. Likewise, as one of the World Marathon Majors, we believe that the Tokyo Marathon can make an even more positive contribution to the world marathon scene by working with our new partners."

Founded on Jan. 23, 2006, by the Boston, Virgin London, BMW Berlin, Bank of America Chicago and ING New York City marathons, the WMM is a race series offering a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners in the world. In addition to the six other races, the IAAF World Championships and Olympic marathons also serve as scoring events in the years in which they are held. Athletes earn points by placing among the top five in each race during a two-year scoring period. The champions of the WMM will be the man and woman who score the greatest number of points during the two-year scoring period.

The inaugural 2006-07 series launched at the 110th Boston Marathon on April 17, 2006, and concluded on Nov. 4, 2007, at the NYC Marathon. The 2013-14 series begins with the Tokyo Marathon and will conclude on Nov. 2, 2014, in New York City.

In a joint statement from the WMM race directors, Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association and Boston Marathon, added, "We at World Marathon Majors are delighted to have Tokyo join our group. The Japanese have a magnificent history and tradition in the marathon, and the Japanese people have long embraced the marathon and distance running in general. They are among the finest fans in the world for our sport."

The inaugural Tokyo Marathon was held on Feb. 18, 2007, and drew 95,044 applicants and 30,870 participants. Kenya's Daniel Njenga (2:09:45) and Japan's Hitomi Niiya (2:31:01) were the race's first champions. Since 2007, the Tokyo Marathon has grown to over 300,000 applicants and nearly 36,000 participants. In addition to serving as the first race of the 2013-14 WMM scoring period, the 2013 Tokyo Marathon will double as the Japanese men's national team trials for the 14th IAAF World Championships Marathon in Moscow. Prior to the establishment of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation in 2007, Tokyo hosted two separate marathon events for elite men and women, dating to 1980 and 1979, respectively.

Each of the WMM races boasts an international elite field for both men and women, has a mass participatory field completing the same course as the elite runners, takes place in a major international market, and is regarded as among the best in the industry.