A 60-year-old member of Hart Road Runners in Hampshire has become one of the latest winners of a coveted Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) Six Star Finisher medal. Jon Cross has completed his quest to run all six of the world's greatest marathons and he says the huge medal has pride of place in his downstairs loo!
The AWMM Six Star Finisher programme was introduced in 2014 to honour the achievements of the runners who travel the world to participate in these huge events. At the conclusion of AWMM Series XI at Virgin Money London Marathon in April this year the verified total of Six Star Finishers stood at 3,786 – still fewer than the number of people who have managed to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
What makes Jon Cross' effort so impressive is that he ran sub-3 hours for all six of his events and secured Six Star Finisher status by winning the M60 category prize in his final AWMM race at Tokyo in February, before “warming down” with 3:03:46 and M60 silver in London.
Despite being a late starter and only taking up running in his 50s, Jon quickly progressed to record 3:10:27 for Brighton Marathon in 2012 and he ran 3:06:26 as an M55 at Edinburgh in 2014. Boston 2015 was next up and despite the relatively tough course 2:59:02 was in the bag and the die was cast.
Although his initial thoughts were that Boston could be a one-off excursion into sub-three hour territory, Jon decided to launch a bid for the AWMM Series, so Boston was followed by Berlin (2:59:54); Chicago (2:57:48); London (2:59:21); New York (2:59:07) and Tokyo (2:56:44).
Regarding his close call at Berlin, Jon said: “I wasn't really expecting to run under three hours but with a mile to go I could see the 3:00 hour pacer 200 yards ahead and with the hardest finish of my life crossed under Brandenberg Gate to reach the finish with four seconds to spare”.
The Six Star Finishers initiative is certainly a powerful incentive to runners of all standards to 'Reach For The Stars', as Abbott WMM executive director Tim Hadzima explains: "This system is the first of its kind and a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the worldwide family of Abbott World Marathon Majors runners. The very definition of reaching for the stars is to strive for a difficult, or even impossible, achievement. We encourage all our finishers to sign up and 'Reach for the Stars'."
Full details of Abbott World Marathon Majors here
Images courtesy AWMM