The Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) is expanding its series to include elite wheelchair athletes. For the first time, a male and female winner will be determined over a twelve-month period based on scoring earned via results from six iconic global races, and each will be awarded $50,000 for the championships.
The new series ste to begin at the April 2016 Boston Marathon, which in 1975 became the first major U.S. road race to recognize wheelchair participation. Including each of the AWMM qualifying races, Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW Berlin, the Bank of America Chicago and the TCS New York Marathons, AWMM Wheelchair Series X will begin at the April 2016 Boston Marathon and end upon completion of the April 2017 Boston Marathon. Each subsequent series will begin and end at the next AWMM race on the calendar.
“These athletes compete at the highest levels, and it’s time for us to formally recognize the achievements of wheelchair athletes,” said Tim Hadzima, AWMM general manager. “Our objective, and that of our title sponsor, Abbott, is to elevate marathoning across the globe by advancing and promoting all aspects of our great sport.”
Paralympic Games and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships races, when scheduled, will also count as part of the series. Scoring will follow existing AWMM rules with the only difference being the number of races that count for the title. In Series without World Championships or Paralympic Games it will be the best four of seven races to score. In years with either of those events, it will be the best five of eight races to score.
“This is a key milestone for all athletes and for the global sport,” said Tatyana McFadden, 11-time Paralympic medalist and multiple wheelchair champion of the Chicago, New York, London and Boston marathons. “It’s thrilling to be able to race on the best courses across the world, and a formalized AWMM series adds more honor and weight to any finish.”
IPC Athletics rules and regulations will govern the races and all athletes must be registered or licensed with IPC Athletics.
“This is another major milestone in the global development and promotion of para-athletics,” said Ryan Montgomery, head of IPC Athletics. “Wheelchair marathon races are amongst the most exciting and competitive in the world and on behalf of the athletes I would like to thank AWMM for their support in making this become a reality.”