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What Does It Take To Run All Six Marathon Majors?


Whether finishing the WMM takes you a few years or a few decades, the accomplishment will earn you entry into the small and storied community of Six Star Finishers. Here are two of their tales.

Kara Bauer
For runners in Hopkinton, the town where the Boston Marathon starts, qualifying for the race is a common goal. Fitting the profile, Kara Bauer, 49, did just that. She hired a coach, trained, qualified, trained some more and ran Boston in 2011.

Then she thought, What’s next? For Bauer, who works for IBM, it was the New York City Marathon, and with the Chicago Marathon already under her belt, she realized she was halfway through a Six Star Finisher journey. Bauer and her “very, very supportive” husband decided the international races would be their family vacations.

“Being able to run all of these events is definitely a big commitment,” says Bauer, who used airline miles to help defray costs.

Related: 26.2 Facts About The Boston Marathon

She recommends using a tour company to help but acknowledges lower-stress logistics come at a cost. While programs may vary, she especially appreciated meeting fellow runners at pre-race pasta dinners and meet-and-greet parties.

Bauer followed the same training program she used to qualify for Boston for every major race. She also credits “being biomechanically blessed” as the reason she’s never been injured.

Tokyo in 2013 was Bauer’s last major and 10th marathon, and she decided it was also going to be her last. Until it wasn’t. “I realized I couldn’t not have a marathon on my calendar,” she says. “Now my goal is to find truly unique marathons both in the states and abroad.”

Bauer’s Official Times:

  • Chicago Marathon, 2010, 4:31:02
  • Boston Marathon, 2011, 3:48
  • New York City Marathon, 2011, 4:17:07
  • London Marathon, 2012, 4:35:21
  • Tokyo Marathon, 2013, 4:40:26
  • Berlin Marathon, 2013, 4:44:47
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Allison Pattillo

Allison Pattillo

Allison played field hockey and golf while growing up, but always ran “just for the fun of it.” She completed and won her age group in her very first race, a 5K, when she was 26 so that she would at least know how to pin on her number before running her first marathon a month later. Those two races turned into dozens, from mile long sprints to ultras, running to triathlon with some ski and snowshoe racing mixed in as well. After earning a Boston qualifier and completing her first IRONMAN 140.6, this mother of two is now focused on seeing how much she can better her 3:48 PB marathon time, running the World Marathon Majors (Boston and Tokyo are in the books!) and tackling a 50-miler.