The signing ceremony for Wanda Group and Abbott World Marathon Majors, photo courtesy of AbbottWMM
The news today of the ten year strategic partnership between Wanda Group, one of largest Chinese business groups, and Abbott World Marathon Majors, the network of six major global marathons was fascinating to RunBlogRun. So, we reached out to Cindy Hamilton of Kickstand Communications, who sent our questions to Tim Hadzima, VP of Abbott World Marathon Majors. Here are Tim’s comments on the strategic partnership.
RunBlogRun, #1. What does this mean for normal marathoner? More options for racing around world?
Tim Hadzima: We are focused on evaluating events in territories such as Asia and Africa to see if they meet our stringent criteria. We hope to identify stellar races and raise their profile among runners who may not be familiar with these events and/or consider running them. If we can work with these events to bring them to a higher level and come under the Abbott World Marathon Majors umbrella, then runners will be assured they offer the high-quality operational excellence and benefits that they’ve come to expect from our existing family of races.
RunBlogRun, #2: What does this say on economic health of sport?
Tim Hadzima: It says that running is economically healthy. We believe there’s lots of room to grow, and it’s gratifying to see a large global company like Wanda recognize it as well.
RunBlogRun, #3: What does this say about growth of Abbott World Marathon Majors?
Tim Hadzima: Hundreds of thousands of runners apply to be a part of our races every year. We are confident that we’ll see the same level of interest in other proprieties we lend our name to.
RunBlogRun, #4: When should we expect new marathons in Majors?
Tim Hadzima: We don’t have a timetable. We’ll begin now to evaluate candidate marathons but we want to move strategically and deliberately when considering new properties. It will take some time to evaluate races against our criteria and to determine if we can help races meet our standards.
RunBlogRun, #5. How does Tim seeing this affect the world of marathons?
Tim Hadzima: While our races now welcome runners from all around the world, this will enable us to make the sport even more global as we will be able to introduce the idea of marathons — and the benefits that come from them — to new audiences.
RunBlogRun, #6. When will we see partners marathons in China? Korea? India?
Tim Hadzima: Our priority is to focus on the Asia and Africa markets at this time.
RunBlogRun, #7: Anything else we should consider at this point?
Tim Hadzima: We will continue to celebrate and recognize our Six Star Finishers — runners who complete the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City Marathons. Should our Series expand we are committed to maintaining the focus on formally recognizing this group of runners.