Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon no longer in the running to be World Marathon Major

Flag off during Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon's (SCSM) bid to join an elite club of races is over, race organiser The Ironman Group announced on Friday (Feb 26).

The Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) series is an exclusive set of just six of the leading marathons in the world - Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City.

The Republic had put its hand up to join the series in 2017, the same year the AWMM inked an exclusive partnership with China's Wanda Sports Group to expand the series and develop marathon events worldwide.

According to a statement on the WMM website on Friday, two races - the Singapore Marathon and the Chengdu Marathon - had been "put forth" by Wanda to be considered for inclusion. However, in March last year, Wanda offloaded the Ironman Group for US$730 million (S$969 million).

The WMM added: "Following the sale of The Ironman Group (who operates the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon) by the Wanda Sports Group, the Singapore race is no longer a part of that candidate process. Wanda Sports Group has the exclusive right to put forward these races."

The decision, noted national sports agency Sport Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board in a statement, was "commercial".

The Singapore Marathon typically attracts close to 50,000 runners annually. It is the nation's largest mass participation sports event and in 2019 - the last year it was held in the physical format prior to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic - the event saw 70,000 spectators line local streets to cheer participants on.

Despite the disappointment, the Ironman group said it "remains committed to delivering world-class race experiences and will continue its efforts in producing a signature event for the global running community". It declined to reveal how much it had invested in its attempt to attain AWMM status.

Sport Singapore and the STB also pledged to continue backing the event and to "continue to develop the SCSM as a world-class World Athletics Gold Label race for Singaporeans and our global participants".

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.