Marathon: The autumn season for professionals and hobby runners

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After many marathons were cancelled in 2020 due to Corona or could only take place virtually, the 2021 marathon season is still full of highlights in late summer and autumn. We show the most important dates.

Eliud Kipchoge took the Olympic marathon victory this year.

After the renowned marathons in New York, Berlin, Paris, Frankfurt and Boston had to be canceled in 2020, runners will finally have the opportunity to participate again this year. 

The women's and men's marathons at the Olympic Games in Japan were, in a way, the starting signal for the season. From September on, the weekends are packed with running events, including six World Marathon Majors. Here you will find the most important information about the "big 6" and dates for other important marathons.

September 26: Berlin Marathon

The Berlin Marathon is the "high-speed marathon" of the season. This is where the official world records tumble: a new men's world record has already been set eleven times in the German capital. The last seven improvements to the best time were all achieved in Berlin. The reason for this is the flat course with few elevation meters and the generally comfortable weather conditions. In 2021, the defending champion and three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia will also be at the start.

  • First held: 1974
  • Course record men: 2:01:39 hours (Eliud Kipchoge, 2018, world record)
  • Course record women: 2:18:11 (Gladys Cherono, 2018)
  • Defending men's champion: Kenenisa Bekele (2019)
  • Defending women's champion: Ashete Bekere (2019)

October 3: London Marathon

Besides Tokyo, the London Marathon was the only race in the World Marathon Major series that took place in 2020. While the previous year's event was a purely professional race, in 2021 amateur runners will also be allowed to compete again. Last year's champions Shura Kitata from Ethiopia and Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) will also be taking part.

  • First edition: 1982
  • Course record men: 2:02:37 hours (Eliud Kipchoge, 2019)
  • Course record women: 2:15:25 (Paula Radcliffe, 2003)
  • Defending champion men: Shura Kitata
  • Defending women's champion: Brigid Kosgei

October 10: Chicago Marathon

Up to 35,000 runners are expected at this year's 43rd edition of the Chicago Marathon, after the event had to be canceled last year.

  • First held: 1905
  • Course record men: 2:03:45 hours (Dennis Kimetto, 2013)
  • Course record women: 2:14:04 (Brigid Kosgei, 2019)
  • Defending men's champion: Lawrence Cherono (2019)
  • Defending women's champion: Brigid Kosgei (2019)

October 11: Boston Marathon

Traditionally, the Boston Marathon takes place on Patriots' Day, the third Monday in April. But due to the pandemic situation, this year's edition has been moved to October. Up to 20,000 starters are allowed to take part in the world's oldest annual marathon this year.

  • First held: 1897
  • Course record men: 2:03:02 hours (Geoffrey Mutai, 2011)
  • Course record women: 2:19:59 (Buzunesh Deba, 2014)
  • Defending champion men: Lawrence Cherono (2019)
  • Defending women's champion: Worknesh Degefa (2019)

October 17: Tokyo Marathon

The youngest of the six World Marathon Majors will again be held under strict restrictions in view of the Corona situation in Japan. After only professionals were allowed to participate in 2020, the starting field for 2021 is limited to people registered in Japan. Entry from overseas for the marathon is not possible.

  • First held: 2007
  • Course record men: 2:03:58 hours (Wilson Kipsang, 2017)
  • Course record women: 2:17:45 (Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, 2020)
  • Defending champion men: Birhanu Legese
  • Defending women's champion: Lonah Chemtai Salpeter

November 7: New York City Marathon

After a one-year hiatus, the traditional conclusion of the major marathon season is back: The New York City Marathon is considered the largest marathon in the world. At the last edition in 2019, an incredible 53,627 starters crossed the finish line.

  • First held: 1970
  • Course record men: 2:05:05 hours (Geoffrey Mutai, 2011)
  • Course record women: 2:22:31 (Msrgaret Okayo, 2003)
  • Defending champion men: Geoffrey Kamworor (2019)
  • Defending women's champion: Joyciline Jepkosgei (2019)

More marathon dates in 2021:


  • 12.9. Hamburg
  • 12.9. Vienna
  • 19.9. Sydney
  • 19.9. Rome


  • 17.10. Amsterdam
  • 17.10. Paris
  • 24.10. Hong Kong
  • 24.10. Rotterdam
  • 24.10. Venice
  • 31.10. Frankfurt


  • 7.11. Los Angeles


  • 5.12. Fukuoka
  • 5.12. Valencia
  • 12.12. Honolulu


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