Abbott World Marathon Majors Reduces Prize Bonus For Pros by 35%

March 22, 2017

The Abbott World Marathon Majors issued a press release today with a new prize structure for Series XI which starts at the 2017 Virgin London Marathon and the total prize purse has been reduced 35% for pro runners.

Until this year, the male and female winners of the World Marathon Majors series received $500,000 each. Second place got nothing.

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Abbott World Marathon MajorsThat changes with Series XI which starts in London on April 23. The winner of Series XI, which will conclude at the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon, will receive $250,000, half of what the previous winners received. The good news is that for first time there will be cash rewards for second ($50,000) and third place ($25,000). The bad news is the total money going to the professional runners ($325,000), is 35% less than it was previously.

Series XI will increase the money to the wheelchair racers (keeping the current $50,000 prize for first place but adding $25,000 for second and $10,000 for third) and add a $280,000 charity component.

Counting the charity component (we do not know if the races previously gave money to charity or not) the total money spent in Series XI will be the same overall as it was in Series X: $1,100,000. The money is just shifted from the pros to the wheelchair racers and charity.

The financial outlay of each professional race (Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo) in the series if money is split evenly between races is shown below.

Final Outlay of Prize Money for Professional Runners and Wheelchair Racers from Annual Pro Races if Split Evenly*
2007-2013  $200,000
2014 $166,666 (Tokyo added in 2013; series was still two-year format)
2015 $142,857 (Series went to a year + 1 format and Abbott announced as sponsor)
2016 $157,142 (Wheelchair money added)
2017 $117,142 (Prize money for pro runners reduced, charity component added)

*We’re not counting the Olympics or World Championships as we don’t believe the IAAF or IOC contributes to the WMM prize fund

QT #1: This is a step back for the prestige and competitiveness of the World Marathon Majors
A 35% reduction in the bonus prize money for the World Marathon Majors reduces its prestige over some of the other races. The WMM can expect a little more competition for top runners from races like the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon which already has the richest prize purse in the sport, the Amsterdam Marathon, Paris, etc.

Discuss here: Abbott World Marathon Majors Reduces Prize Structure to Pro Runners by 35%

Full press release below.

Discuss: World Marathon Majors Reduces Prize Purse for Pro Runner by 35%

Top Three Men’s, Women’s Series Finishers to Be Honored

Chicago, IL – March 22, 2017 — Abbott World Marathon Majors will expand its prize structure and introduce a new charity program. This will go into effect at AbbottWMM Series XI, which begins at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

The prize money has been restructured to recognize and reward the top three men’s and women’s finishers in both the open and wheelchair Series. Previously, only the individual champions received prize money.

In addition, through the new charity program, a total donation of $280,000 will be made in the name of the race winners of the seven races that make up Series XI, which include the 2017 Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City Marathons, and the 2018 Tokyo, Boston, and Virgin Money London Marathons.

Each race winner in the open and wheelchair categories will be honored with an AbbottWMM $10,000 donation, in his or her name, to a charity of his or her choosing.

“The Race Directors of the Abbott World Marathon Majors want to acknowledge the top three athletes, rather than just the winners, and also to reflect the reason to run for so many of the hundreds of thousands who participate in our races,” said Tim Hadzima, AbbottWMM general manager. “Many of the runners who cross our iconic finish lines every year fundraise an incredible amount of money for charity.”

The current AbbottWMM cycle, Series X, concludes after the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, 2017. The leaderboard positions of athletes contending for the titles can be viewed at

Charity Program 

Runners in the six AbbottWMM races raise approximately $150 million for charity every year through individual fundraising. In Series XI, AbbottWMM is adding a charity program, donating a total of $280,000 to different charities during the year.

Beginning at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, the men’s and women’s open and wheelchair champions will work with race organizers to choose a charity to receive $10,000 in their name, on behalf of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. This will be replicated at each of the Series XI races in Berlin, Chicago, New York City, Tokyo, Boston and London 2018 marathons to result in a total donation of $280,000 from AbbottWMM.

Each race organizer will decide the process for the selection of the charities for their race and full details will be announced by each during the build-up to the race.

Scoring and Prize Purse for Series XI 

The three athletes in the open and wheelchair divisions with the highest amount of points will be awarded prize money. The scoring remains the same as in past Series, with athletes earning points by placing among the top five in Qualifying Races:

  • 1st place – 25 points
  • 2nd place – 16 points
  • 3rd place – 9 points
  • 4th place – 4 points
  • 5th place – 1 point

“This new approach enables the Abbott World Marathon Majors to create more opportunities to introduce inspiring, talented professional athletes to our growing global audience,” Hadzima said.  “Our new total prize purse honors more top performers with financial support and is a natural complement to the $9 million we’ve awarded over the past decade.”

The top three women and men in the open and wheelchair divisions will be awarded prize money as follows:

Place AbbottWMM
Series XI Men
Series XI Women
Wheelchair Series XI Men
Wheelchair Series XI Women
Series XI Charity Program
1st $250,000 $250,000 $50,000 $50,000 $280,000 $880,000
2nd $50,000 $50,000 $25,000 $25,000 $150,000
3rd $25,000 $25,000 $10,000 $10,000 $70,000
Total $325,000 $325,000 $85,000 $85,000 $280,000 $1,100,000

Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI 

The following Qualifying Races will comprise Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI:

  • April 23, 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon
  • August 6, 2017 IAAF World Championships Marathon
  • September 24, 2017 BMW BERLIN Marathon
  • October 8, 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
  • November 5, 2017 TCS New York City Marathon
  • February 25, 2018 Tokyo Marathon
  • April 16, 2018 Boston Marathon
  • April 22, 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon

About the Abbott World Marathon Majors 

The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a series of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world: Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon.

The organizers of these events are united in their effort to advance the sport, and via its series Championship, raise awareness of professional athletes and increase the level of interest in elite racing among running enthusiasts.

Discuss here: Abbott World Marathon Majors Reduces Prize Structure to Pro Runners by 35%

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