|The 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon will include a mass-participation 5-kilometer race on the same course as the World Championship Marathon. While it will not count as a World Championship-level race, it will introduce a new way of spectating the event: while running there!|
Part of what makes the Marathon Majors special is the participation of thousands of athletes that are not full-time sportspeople but that take on marathons as a challenge and are able to eventually compete in some of the most important world-class sporting events in the world.
Before the overwhelming professionalization of sport in the XX Century, sport was mostly an activity for leisure, and people mostly did not live off competing. This allowed amateurs that did something else professionally to compete in the the-World-class events of the heyday.
This still exists in the current Marathons. Of course, the amateur runners have no chance against the world’s best but that doesn’t matter, because it is still an achievement to race there.
Having a shot at competing alongside the world’s best has motivated thousands of people around the world to become healthier and take on a healthy lifestyle in order to run, which is a social good.
Just imagine if the same could apply to some Olympic competitions such as the Marathon! We could be talking about even more people that would like to be part of the party from the inside, and that would surely try to get in shape and start running n order to be part of the competition. Also, from a fan experience perspective, this would be a revulsive that would ensure further interest in Olympic competitions.
There are several logistical hurdles to surpass but it has been rumored that the Paris 2024 Olympic Games could do something of that sort, although nothing is confirmed so far, beyond urban qualification events in the city, in the months leading to the Games. Part of the platform of this edition was to get the Games closer to the people, hence why sports such as breaking were included. Stay tuned for the chance of a massive participation event in the future!
Since we are talking about massive participation events, we should also take the opportunity of recapping the Boston Marathon.
Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) continues her great dominance in the Marathon, after winning the New York Marathon, the Olympic Marathon, and now the Boston Marathon, within eight months. She beat Ababel Yeshaneh (ETH) in a Final fuel for the win, recording 2:21:01.
Meanwhile, Evans Chebet (2:06:51) led Lawrence Cherono and Benson Kipruto for a Kenyan sweep in the men’s race, after a great closing by the winner.
Often there are other categories run concurrently in these kinds of mass-participation events. For example, concurrently Daniel Romanchuk (USA) and Manuela Schär (CHE) won the Wheelchair competitions.