Running the marathon majors

lisajuliecollage 300x300 Running the marathon majors

Scenes from Paris, London and Berlin

What’s a runner to do who’s accomplished all her time goals and distance goals but still wants to stay in the marathon and racing game? How about tackling all the marathon majors? That’s the path my two friends Lisa and Julie have headed down and so far, it has been a great ride for them.

For those who are unfamiliar, the marathon majors are considered Boston, NYC, Chicago, Berlin, Paris, London and Tokyo. Lisa and Julie are well on their way to having all seven crossed off their lists, their most recent conquests being Paris and London (the “chunnel”) just last month.

Before I get into their fun travel to the races, let me tell you these ladies are no joke when it comes to time accomplishments. Both have marathon PRs that run sub-3:15. Both have run the JFK 50, and Lisa has even run Rim2Rim2Rim. In our running group, they are perpetually at the front of the pack while some of us (raises hand) whine for them to slow down. But onto the majors.

Both Lisa and Julie decided to concentrate on the seven races in the last couple of years. They looked at it as a great way to combine their love of running with travel. As Lisa says, “It’s the perfect vacation and I’m hooked on this kind of travel. It’s so fun to get to a new city, go for an exploration run, figure out what to do, where to eat and where to shop. Finding someone who enjoys the same pace as you makes a huge difference.”

So far, they have run Boston multiple times over, Chicago, Berlin, London, Paris, and New York, in Julie’s case. They’ll both run New York together this fall (it was on their schedule the year Sandy hit) and plan to cross Tokyo off the list in 2016. Lisa’s favorite so far remains Boston, but Julie’s heart is in New York, which she ran in 2001. “There was such incredible crowd support that year since it wasn’t long after 9/11,” she says. “Every fire station had fire trucks out, people ran with names from 9/11 on their shirts, and we got to start almost at the starting line, watching the elite women take off.”

What do the ladies recommend to folks who are considering tackling all the majors? Have fun, first and foremost. “Don’t sacrifice the fun for the run,” says Lisa. “Letting go of the perfect race can guarantee a great life experience. In the words of our fellow Chunnelers: ‘you’re ready, just run.’” Julie concurs: “Train so that you feel confident, but don’t make the trip just about the run. The run is just part of the adventure.”

I can tell you from their stories, Lisa and Julie have indeed made the most of these trips and had an amazing time.

Anyone else have the majors as their goal? Anyone run Tokyo, their one outstanding race? 

If you entered my MilestonePod giveaway, the winners are Jeff and Darlene. Congrats–I’ve sent you both an email.

Related Posts:


  1. *bounces up and down* Me! Me! I’ve run Tokyo – in 2011 before I was ever remotely serious about any sort of time goal or training! It was a fantastic holiday and the race itself was great fun. I would definitely love to do it again at some point.

    - There is a lottery to get in, but it was relatively easy for foreigners to do so, although this was before it received Marathon Major status.
    - There are clearly marked and separated start corrals for you fast people :)
    - An early morning shakeout run is a great way to see the Imperial Palace.
    - Best race atmosphere I’ve experienced; there are people cheering all the way, and plenty of ‘unofficial’ race support.
    - I did not face any serious language barriers at the expo or before/ during the race, despite not speaking or reading any Japanese. At the expo, it was so interesting to see what products were hot in the Japanese running market. Running is really big in Japan, and there are some products that are found only on the Japanese market, like amino sports drinks, Soyjoy flavours, and shoe models.
    - Also, a nice bowl of ramen or udon is pretty much the perfect pre-marathon meal – lots of carbs, a fair bit of salt. Things might be trickier for a non-Japanese-speaking vegetarian though.

    What are you waiting for? :)
    Grace recently posted..May you get what you deserveMy Profile

  2. There is a guy in our local running club that is doing this. I think he just did Tokyo. It’s amazing!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Don’t Encourage MeMy Profile

  3. I am always so impressed and inspired by women like them. So very cool!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted..Half Marathon Training – Week 16 (Final Week)My Profile

  4. I love this as an idea – especially the “Don’t sacrifice the fun for the run”. That is definitely something I as someone who ran my first marathon at 46 believe … sure I work to improve in every way – but will never do anything that impedes the joy of the run.
    Michael Anderson recently posted..Take Care Tuesday – When is Technology Too Much, Too Young?My Profile

  5. I love all of this so much. I would absolutely love to follow in their footsteps someday and even take just ONE racing vacation with another mother runner :-) I have only crossed Boston off my “major” list but I really want to run Chicago. I fell in love with that city the first time I visited.
    Great post today! So inspiring! My new mantra – “You’re ready, just run.” Yep.
    Allie recently posted..No One Gets Addicted to LettuceMy Profile

  6. Wow how cool is this. We actually have someone at work that is finishing accomplishing this really soon. I would absolutely love too, but gosh I cannot even imagine how much it costs with travel.
    Hollie recently posted..Broad Street 10 Miler (1:05.20)My Profile

  7. While this is not likely to be something I cross off my list of things I’ve done I think it’s an amazing accomplishment and sounds like a ton of fun!
    Cori @ recently posted..What Makes A Good Product to Review?My Profile

  8. What amazing women! I hope to follow in their footsteps and be a world traveling marathon killer.
    Erica { } recently posted..My #1 Secret For Running a Great MarathonMy Profile

  9. I love this!!! To be able to have a friend/partner to share this with makes it even better … they are showing how to make your love of running enjoyable and fun while still taking it seriously.
    Christina recently posted..New running shoes, Fall marathon registration, new running topsMy Profile

  10. Seriously sooooo impressive!!! I am not a racer, but all the experiences I would love to have. I want to do London for sure and I really think an Ultra is in my future
    Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Butternut Squash “Cheesy” Bake – Dairy and Gluten FreeMy Profile

  11. Overseas races would be fun!
    Kat recently posted..Compound movements mean EFFICIENT workouts!My Profile

  12. Love that goal. I’ve only done Boston, but I’d love to travel to Tokyo for a race!
    Gracie (Complicated Day) recently posted..Oh, the irony.My Profile

  13. This is such a cool idea! Julie and Lisa are very lucky that they have the opportunity to pursue this goal. :)
    Rachel recently posted..What Makes a Runner?My Profile

  14. I love that idea of combining travel with destination races. It’s not likely to happen in the near future, but as our kids our older, European marathons would be a blast!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Crazy sites on my run + WIAWMy Profile

  15. Man, I just want to run A marathon! But, if I could, I’d run the Big 5 Marathon. Looks so cool :)
    Colorado Gal recently posted..Some Randomness From My LifeMy Profile

  16. wow it would be so fun to travel to such a big city to run a major!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Mamma Chia GiveawayMy Profile

  17. I would love to run the Berlin marathon! I studied in Germany one summer, and I want to go back someday. Love the country and the language.
    Jojo @ RunFastEatLots recently posted..Weekly Chase 5/6My Profile

  18. I know I’d love to do Berlin for sure. It’s a goal of mine for some day. Maybe NY and maybe Paris..Not sure I’d go to Hong Kong and run though. Great post. Fun.
    Robin recently posted..Mississauga Marathon #4 – Pacing DutiesMy Profile

  19. I met a woman who hosted one of the Mother Runner parties, who’s run all the majors. She also has MS. So inspirational. Especially since I have no major health issues but struggle with the marathon distance.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..HappyMy Profile

  20. Yes! I definitely want to do four of the marathon majors; London, NYC, Boston, and Chicago. Maybe Berlin if I can reach my running goals and get paid to be an elite there….i can dream right? :P I am doing Chicago this year so cant wait to check that one off! London will have to be when i am at my peak so all my friends and family from home can come watch :) So exciting, and so funny that certain marathons are considered the ones to do!
    Tina Muir recently posted..May is Osteoporosis Month and Sunshine Burgers ReviewMy Profile

  21. Great advice!
    Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog. recently posted..For My KidsMy Profile

  22. What a great goal!!
    And, I’m going to use that mantra on Saturday – “You’re ready, just run.”
    Kim recently posted..Pushing Past Failure in Order to Fulfill a DreamMy Profile

  23. I continue to be inspired by Lisa’s love of running. She also shares her love of running year round as a coach to our CancerTo5K group. I enjoyed reliving her recent Paris trip with her and can’t wait to see her cross the finish line at Tokyo!!! You Rock, Coach!!!!
    Cassandra @PoweredbyBLING recently posted..Triathlon Race Day Do’s and Don’tsMy Profile

  24. This is a very cool project, though I’d prefer to run smaller, less expensive races and spend the difference on more travel time.
    Kovas – Midwest Multisport Life recently posted..Planting Our GardenMy Profile

  25. I am focusing on the minors or the D-league marathons…
    Jamoosh recently posted..What The FridayMy Profile

  26. They are awesome and agree with the notion of not sacrificing fun for the run. I would love to run all the majors. Only started running marathons last year did NYC and #4 this fall will be Chicago! Traveling and running are two of my favorite things. Plan a long life of running so hopefully one day…
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted..AdvoCare 24 Day ChallengeMy Profile

  27. Wow that is so awesome! What great adventures they have had:) Love that they do these together:)
    Rachelle Q recently posted..Is That too Much to Ask?My Profile

  28. Sounds so incredible!! And what a great goal when you don’t mind running for other reasons than personal bests.
    I would love to run in a vairety of countries as an excuse to travel more. I’d love to run the Victoria Fall Marathon in Zimbabwe and Zambia, Gold Coast Marathon in Queensland, Australia and the Lantau Mountain Marathon in Hong Kong. I’m sure I could add many more to my list!
    Abby recently posted..Spreading the love: Liebster AwardMy Profile

  29. So amazing! Many of the majors are on my bucket-list!
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..#BESTFOOT – Goodlife Race RecapMy Profile

  30. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm, not even going to think about doing one.. I am in awe of everyone that does these – fast or slow! :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Muscles of ALL Sizes are Beautiful!My Profile

  31. wow!! now that is an amazing goal! i love following people in their run journey!
    lindsay recently posted..The OVER FIXING SyndromeMy Profile

  32. This sounds like SO much fun to me. I love that they added Paris and ‘chunneled’. I have a bunch of friends who just finished off with Tokyo. At this point, if I make it overseas for ONE major, I’ll be thrilled. At least come November, I’ll have the domestic majors complete. : )
    Marcia recently posted..Discovering Essential Oils and a GiveawayMy Profile

  33. I’ve only run one of the majors and doubt I’ll run any of the others, but how cool is that for a goal! Best wishes to your friends, and I hope they have a blast chasing their goal!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted..Confessions Of A Tanning GoddessMy Profile

  34. Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did
    you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my
    blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your design.
    With thanks
    keyword tool recently posted..keyword toolMy Profile

  35. No Australian races? I’ll forgive the snub but if they ever want to run one I’d recommend the Melbourne Marathon in October. It’s a great city and a well run event.
    Char recently posted..The Day I Became A MurdererMy Profile

  36. This is pretty neat, and quite funny – as local (to Singapore) runners dreaming of this challenge can EASILY cross Tokyo off their list, but the others – especially in the US – are much harder!

    Tokyo is popular among Singaporeans, as the weather is cool and it’s supposedly pretty well run, compared to what’s found in SE Asia.

    Anyway, if they swing through Singapore (it’s only an 8 hour detour!) on their way to/from Tokyo, put us in touch, we’ll show them around! :)
    Coach Holly @ Run With Holly recently posted..What’s it like to run in *insert country here*? Cathryn’s on the caper!My Profile

  37. That’s quite an accomplishment and what a way to see wonderful parts of the world.
    I’m hoping to complete my US majors with NYC this Nov. As for the international, not so desirable, especially Tokyo. Much too far to travel for a marathon.
    Joanne recently posted..Tacoma to Seattle and BackMy Profile

  38. What a great idea!!! It would be also fun to run a marathon on each continent.
    christine recently posted..Proud Momma MomentMy Profile

  39. it’s on my list of “one days” after I finish my states. Also, previous post comment- hoping you find some answers soon and start to feel better and can run again!!
    elizabeth recently posted..Closure and JusticeMy Profile

  40. This is so awesome! What an amazing journey and life accomplishment … and such a great way to experience some of these great cities! These two would be perfect for my Friday FITspiration series if they are interested in being interviewed. Love it! So inspiring! On my bucket list is to run a marathon in Europe, either Paris or Rome.
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted..Weekly Training Recap: I’m Baaaacck!My Profile

Speak Your Mind


Current ye@r *

CommentLuv badge