StanChart Marathon still has room for improvement
WMM chief says there's progress, but they're looking out for how the city presents itself to the world
After three years of work towards achieving the highest standards, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) is making steady progress but more work has to be done before it can earn the distinction of being a World Marathon Major (WMM).
Making that appraisal is Tim Hadzima, the executive director of the World Marathon Majors series, who was on site to observe last weekend's SCSM.
"This is meant to be a long-term development. When the Tokyo Marathon came in as a World Marathon Major (in 2012), it was a process that took four or five years. We have really strict operational standards to be checked off," he told The Straits Times on the sidelines of the Mass Participation Asia conference held at the Hilton Singapore hotel yesterday.
"What we have seen here over three years is great progress but there is still progress left to go. It's exciting to see progress and it's exciting to know there's some more time to get to that standard."
The Singapore Marathon was inaugurated in 1982 and saw a peak of 65,000 runners in 2011. It has been an International Association of Athletics Federations Gold Label race since 2012.
To turbocharge the bid to become a Major, the SCSM engaged experienced race organiser Ironman Asia to propel the event.
Last year, Ironman Asia and WMM signed a 10-year partnership to expand the series' race calendar from six to nine cities.
Singapore is the only candidate announced so far, with Ironman Asia setting a three-year time frame for the SCSM to join the exclusive WMM club that comprises Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo.
Hadzima said: "We've been impressed in the time that we've been here and we are working with them (SCSM) to get to that standard.
"The event that we saw yesterday (on Sunday) was leaps and bounds (better) from what we had seen (in previous years).
"It's exciting to see the start and finish in new areas, the space that was being used, the backdrop of the city that's like a postcard. Those were some great changes."
The consistent thing you see in all of our races is it is a true celebration of the city.” World Marathon Majors chief Tim Hadzima
Although impressed, Hadzima declined to give a firm timeline on when Singapore would be granted Major status but he said what the WMM is looking out for is how the race presents itself to the world.
He explained: "The consistent thing you see in all of our races is it is a true celebration of the city. You see a lot of people coming out, the passion from the community and runners. We're starting to see more and more of that here and it is continually developing.
"There's no better and impactful way to get a tour of the city than to run in the middle of a street through all the great sections of a city. The Chicago Marathon runs through 29 neighbourhoods that shows the city as a true melting pot, whether it's Chinatown or Pilsen, the Latin side of the city."