6 Marathons, 1 Medal: My Six Star Plan

This medal around my neck:

My name on this list:

This my current life goal, and here’s my plan to achieve it.

How does it work?

The concept is simple: complete all 6 World Major Marathons, submit your bib number, time, and year for each of the six that you completed, and they’ll send you the medal in the mail. You do not have to complete all 6 in the same year/within a year of each other.

Sounds easy enough, right?

6 marathons? I can’t even run one!

Trust me, this goal/project is a labor of love. I started running 3 years ago and have fallen in love with it since. I promise you that I’m enjoying this — just ignore all the gasping, wheezing, limping, groaning, whining, and crying.

So you just have to run 6 marathons and they give you the medal?

In principle: correct.

In practice: much more complicated.

The problem is not so much running the 6 marathons so much as it is qualifying for them. Simply having the privilege to toe the starting line can be a huge deal depending on what marathon it is. Here are the qualifying times in order of difficulty (note: these times are for me, a 19 year-old American male):

Chicago: 3:15:00

Boston: 3:05:00

New York: 2:53:00

Tokyo: 2:45:00 (See “Run as ONE”)

Berlin: 2:45:00 (Under “Fast Runners”)

London: $$$$ (Overseas entries cannot qualify by time)

So in theory, I just have to run under 2:45:00 at a qualifying marathon and it should be fairly simple right?

Not quite: as it turns out, in large marathons such as Boston, you often need to beat the qualifying time by a couple of minutes to be selected by ballot.

2:45:00? How fast is that?

It is a grueling 6:17/mile (3:55/km) pace that sucks your soul from you and leave you a shell of your former self. Personal comment aside, it’s quite a bit faster than where I currently stand.

Okay, well where do you stand?

Time for a bit of a humble brag: my current marathon PR (personal record) is 2:49:36 (6:29/mile), which I ran at the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon taking home first place in the Male 16–19 division.

My current plans are to apply to both the Boston and New York marathons in 2018, in the hopes that I can shave my time down to a sub 2:45:00. If I reach that goal, then it’s off to Berlin and Tokyo for me, barring me not being cut off because I failed to run far enough under the qualifying time. If I fail, then I’ll regroup and go again for 2:45:00 at Chicago.

And if that fails, well thank god for charity spots.

You can follow my training and progress on Strava.