The Sydney Marathon has today announced two new Australian Championship events, open to athletes across Australia. The inaugural Australian Age Group Marathon Championships and the Australian Clubs Marathon Championships will be added to the traditional Australian Open Marathon Championships at this year’s Sydney Marathon on Sunday, 17 September 2023.
A Candidate Race for the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Sydney Marathon is renowned globally as a bucket list event and aims to join an esteemed group of races – Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, TCS London Marathon, BMW-BERLIN Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon – as a new member of the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2025.
Achieving (AbbottWMM) status will have a tremendous impact on tourism in Sydney and Australia, and provide positive benefits to the Athletics community.
Wayne Larden, Race Director, Sydney Marathon explained, “We’re excited to introduce these new innovations so that runners of all levels can take part in an actual Australian Championship and compete against their peers in their age groups as equals. Introducing a platform for Clubs to compete against each other for the Australian Championships is going to be extremely popular and competitive.
The Australian Championships will also help us achieve our goal of becoming the seventh Abbott World Marathon Majors, which has strict criteria around participation numbers.
Age group championships have been done for years in Triathlon and it has been a great success for the sport, particularly for events such as IronMan which is focused on the Age Group competition.”
The Sydney Marathon is recognised as one of the best marathon events in the world, uniting people of all backgrounds to enjoy an unforgettable running experience. The Abbott World Marathon Majors candidacy recognises Sydney as a prime destination to join the biggest and best-known global marathon series, whilst showcasing Sydney’s natural beauty and desirable lifestyle to future travellers
“Australian distance running is entering a new era at the elite level and there’s no better way to complement this than with the addition of the Australian Age Group and Club Championships at an event as iconic as the Sydney Marathon,” said Peter Bromley, CEO, Athletics Australia. “The addition of the championships will inspire the athlete inside of so many and we look forward to seeing the event grow further as it looks to become the seventh World Marathon Major.”
Australian (Elite) Marathon Championships: the traditional Australian Championship with three male and three female athletes representing their State. State Champions are also awarded to the best performing State.
Australian Clubs Marathon Championships: a new Championship pitting Australia’s best Clubs against each other in three categories, Male, Female and Mixed. 3 athletes in each club in each category.
Australian Age Group Marathon Championships: a new Championship event that will very quickly become the most popular Australian (Road) Championships on the calendar. Runners 30yrs+ will compete in 5yr age groups against each other.
“The vast majority of runners in the sport are age group runners that haven’t had the opportunity to represent their state or win an Australian Championship medal,” said Brett Robinson, Australia’s fastest marathon runner. “The creation of the Australian Age Group and Clubs Marathon Championships are amazing additions to the sport, and we expect it to be a popular addition to the Sydney Marathon, which sees thousands more competing,”
Australian marathon legend Steve Moneghetti, added, “I grew up running for my Club here in Ballarat and I am obviously now in the twilight years of my competitive running, so I am delighted to see both the Australian Clubs Marathon Championships and the Australian Age Group Championships introduced to the Sydney Marathon this year. It’s enough motivation for me to think about lacing up my marathon racing shoes again.”
Victoria’s Glenhuntly Athletic Club legend and Olympian, Trevor Vincent, laid down the challenge to Australia’s athletics clubs and encouraged them to participate in the Sydney Marathon and help the event leap onto the world stage as an Abbott World Marathon Majors.
“Glenhuntly Athletic Club will aspire to be the first – and ongoing – Australian Clubs Marathon Champions, with the famous Glenhuntly light blue singlet and dark blue boomerang prominent everywhere at this year’s Sydney Marathon,” he said. “The Hunters have been instrumental over the years in developing and supporting some of our finest marathoners, including world champion and world record holder Rob de Castella, and national record holders Benita Willis and Sinead Diver.
The Championships will provide a unique opportunity for athletics clubs across the country to wear club colours and challenge each other at the world’s most picturesque marathon course. Individually, age group runners will go head-to-head, competing against each other in their age group categories.
“The success of this world-class event will have a positive effect on the Australian running scene, on and off the race course,” said Steve Dineen, Vice President, Box Hill Athletics Club. “To have an Age Group Championships and a Club Championships at a World Class international marathon event will provide local runners with excitement and motivation to commit to training, as well as achieving personal and team-based goals.”
Matt Whitbread, President of Athletics NSW said, “The addition of the Age Group Championships and the Clubs Championship to the Sydney Marathon are two brilliant additions to an iconic Australian event, bringing national recognition of club and age group runners to a truly international race. As the Sydney Marathon continues its journey to Abbott World Marathon Majors status, these Championships are a wonderful opportunity for our members to be celebrated in an iconic Australian race over the ultimate running distance – the marathon.”
The first Australian Age Group Marathon Championships and Australian Clubs Marathon Championships will take place at the Sydney Marathon on Sunday 17 September 2023.