Marathon Rules

  1. A marathon must be greater than or equal to 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 Km) and an ultra is any distance greater than the marathon distance.
  2. Preferably the route has been distance certified.
  3. If not certified the Race Director must provide documentation as to how the course was measured. At a minimum course must be measured two times using an odometer or GPS and in the event of a discrepancy the longer distance must be used. Trail courses that don’t lend themselves to those forms of measurement must document their good faith effort to meet the marathon distance requirement.
  4. The event shall have a named race director(s) to supervise and take responsibility for the event.
  5. A race organization representative must be present at start and finish to certify the participant’s completion of the distance.
  6. The participant must traverse on foot, or hand cycle or wheelchair (rules and guidelines as defined by International Paralympic Committee) the entire race course.
  7. Event must have had a minimum of 60 days advanced publicity in a running publication, magazine, newspaper, website or race brochure. After December 31, 2023, the advanced publicity must include a website with registration capability.  WhatsApp, Facebook, email, or other forms of social media, can supplement the website, but are not sufficient.
  8. Verifiable results must be posted to the general public. E.g. website, newspaper, magazine. After December 31, 2023, the race results must be posted on a race website. For smaller events MG Membership Director may offer to get the entire race results from the RD and post on MG website.
  9. Event must be timed by a non participant.
  10. The event must have a minimum of 10 finishers. If an ultra and a marathon are being held simultaneously, the combined number of finishers meets this rule. Barkley Marathons Clause: If an event has a low percentage of finishers due to difficulty factors intentionally (e.g. 100K and 100 mile ultras) built into the course, then there must be at least 10 starters.
  11. A marathon shall be run without interruption except for natural events such as a thunderstorm, hail, tornado, downed power line, flooding, rock slide, etc.
  12. If temporarily interrupted by a natural event the marathon can be counted if at least 26 miles 385 yards was ultimately completed, possibly on a diverted course, and continuance is allowed by the race director.
  13. A stage or multi-day event will only count as one event and at least one day’s stage must include a distance of 26 miles 385 yards or greater.
  14. If a participant can register for single stages of a multi-day event then each continuous stage greater than or equal to 26.2 miles can be counted as a marathon.
  15. Completion of at least one 26.2 mile portion of an ultra may be counted as a marathon, if the race director verifies in the results.
  16. Participants shall retain information to substantiate completion of an event, such as: a finisher’s certificate, published event results, medal or completion award.
  17. The event must either start or finish or include 50% of the distance traversed in the country to be counted. A route that runs into two or more countries can only be counted as one. Participant is responsible for providing Race Director written assurance satisfying the 50% rule.
  18. Participant must be registered for the event to count. Guides, ultra distance “handlers”, pacers and bandits may not count the event if they were not assigned bib numbers and published verifiable finish results.
  19. The marathon portion of a triathlon event may be counted as a marathon.
  20. If an event allows an early start, it is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that the race organization correctly represents and verifies the participant’s time. An official timer must be present to record early start.
  21. “Shadow” or “satellite” events will not be counted as proxy to a regular, organized marathon event, but in a separate location. The race must physically occur in the country for which it is being counted.
  22. If you finish after the official closure time of the event, you can still count the event if you appear in race results with a finish time.
  23. Event participants must comply with the APPLICABLE rules of the race organization, respective governing body and local laws. Marathon Globetrotters condemn cheating, the use of IAAF banned substances and the transfer of race entries without the expressed permission of the event management.
  24. Special “Turks rule”. If an annual marathon event is held for 3 or more years and 1 or more of the years has less than 10 finishers (not satisfying rule #10), then the Membership Director may approve the submitted race result without need to submit an exception form and will make a note in the records.  The member must comment on this circumstance at time of submission (because it does not satisfy Rule # 10) and may receive a clarifying email from the Membership Director prior to approval.  In order to be considered 1 of the 3 or more years must have reached 10 or more finishers. This means that if the event never reaches 10 finishers over the course of its lifetime this rule is not satisfied.  In that case an exception may still be submitted.

Examples of events that caused questions

  1. If a race starts in one country, crosses into another country and returns to the original country it may be counted for the country where the race started and ended or the country that included 50% of the distance.
  2. If a multicountry event is run on a subsequent year, the race may be counted for one of the other countries in the start/end/50% rule.
  3. The Marathon de Sables, which is a multi-day stage race, counts as one event because participants are currently not allowed to run single day stages.
  4. Running a half-marathon twice does not qualify as a marathon event.
  5. Running a 10 Km race four times plus 2.125 Km does not qualify as a marathon event.
  6. Running at least 50 miles of the Umstead 100 counts as an event because the race organization allows participants to count a 50 mile finish once they complete at least 50 miles and less than 100. Likewise for the Javelina Jundred 100K, as opposed to the Javelina Jundred 100.
  7. Timed events (6 hour, 8 hour, 12 hour, 24 hour, 48 hour, etc.) can be counted as one race as long as the individual covers at least 26 miles 385 yards and verifiable results are maintained and/or posted. A runner may not register multiple times, run multiple marathon distances and count the event more than once.
  8. The Hood to Coast Relay cannot be counted as a marathon because the race is not run without interruption.
  9. “Relay for Life” is currently not considered a marathon event since there is no race director to supervise and take responsibility for the event.
  10. If an event is cancelled it will not count.
  11. If an event is cancelled mid-race, it will only count if the participant reached the finish line prior to the cancellation. Examples: 2007 Chicago Marathon (heat), 2010 Country Music Marathon (lightning), 2011 GO! St. Louis Marathon (heat), 2012 Green Bay Marathon (heat), 2013 Boston Marathon (bombing), etc.
  12. If a participant’s run is interrupted prior to completing 26.2 miles and the participant is transported to another location by automobile, train, airplane, etc, then the final distance completed, the race cannot be counted.
  13. If the race organization decides to suspend the race for a short time because of safety issues and then allows runners to continue on the same course or a diverted route, then the race may count. On their own, a participant may not start a race, leave the course and then return to continue.
  14. If you were directed off-course by a volunteer and were not able to complete 26.2 miles it does not count.
  15. Partial completion of an ultra event greater than 26.2 miles counts if the race results verify you completed 26.2 miles or more.
  16. North Pole is not one we will count as a country for the Globetrotters list, weighting factors are: no country, no continent, no government, no land mass, it’s an ocean.
  17. We realize Antarctica is not a country, but its continent status was the reason we decided to count it.
  18. If the event is done entirely on a boat, plane, train, iceberg or sea ice it does not count as a country. We can imagine an event that traverses one of these as a continuous portion of the race in a country (i.e. running up some stairs, through a plane and back out), but have not heard of one yet. Examples: 2001 Last Marathon (boat), North Pole Marathon (sea ice).

If you have a situation not addressed by rules and examples, please visit Exceptions page and follow the instructions.