Will The Singapore Marathon Be The Next AbbottWMM?
Singapore, no matter how you put it, no matter when you run—day or night, January or July—is hot and humid. And that is of course not ideal to aim for a marathon PB or break a world record, right?
Maybe so, but the island city-state may soon become an Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) course alongside Boston, Chicago, New York, Tokyo, Berlin and London. In coordination with the Chinese private conglomerate Wanda Group last year, the AbbottWMM agreed to a 10-year strategic partnership to potentially develop three new events to add to the series. As part of this agreement, they were tasked with identifying current races that met the requirements of potential inclusion in the series.
“The World Marathon Majors is a very European and U.S.-centric organization. In order to expand and truly create the global series that they want, they need to expand in areas where they do not yet have a presence, such as Asia,” said Ironman Managing Director for Asia Geoff Meyer.
So why the Singapore Marathon? For starters, it’s one of the most well-organized urban destinations and is extremely clean and safe. The international hub is also easy to reach from anywhere in the world (albeit a long flight from the U.S. and Europe) and has a great public transportation system so travelers can effortlessly navigate its neighborhoods.
“What the World Marathon Majors wants is a truly global city, with all the amenities: hotels, an international airport and all the other modern city infrastructures,” says Meyer.
There is still much to be considered before dubbing Singapore the next AbbottWMM city in 2020. “Singapore is a great international destination with a passion for sports and it has seen a huge increase in the popularity of running over the last few years,” says Tim Hadzima, Executive Director for the AbbottWMM. “But there are still areas that need to be improved for the Singapore Marathon to reach our requirements.”
Aside from the expected long-term procedure, as well as the strict set of criteria to be met for any new marathon, what really seems to be the main issue right now is the lack of local government support.
“Singapore works very much on this ideology: Singapore for Singaporeans. All of New York City, or London for that matter, basically shuts down for the marathon. There are pros and cons for the local people on a race day like this,” says Meyer. “But Singapore works on a different level. Every single complaint, or inconvenience to a Singaporean resident, is taken very seriously.”
“We’re not going to be a Berlin or London that is basically about world records—and I don’t think we want to be—it’s too hot, too humid from that perspective,” Meyer continues. “We’ve increased the prize money from $160K up to nearly $500K this year. So we’re serious about bringing the world’s best.”
Only time will tell if we’ll soon be adding Singapore to our list of majors to compete at, but with so much in the air currently, we’re not holding our breath for a decision just yet. Would you race in Singapore in December with temperatures around 85-90 degrees F and 100 percent humidity to get a seventh AbbottWMM medal?
posted Sunday February 3rd