Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd, one of the leading Chinese private conglomerates, announced at a signing ceremony today that it has reached a landmark agreement with the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) with a ten-year strategic partnership aimed at the continued growth and development of marathon events worldwide.
The partnership plans to expand the AbbottWMM Series with events added in new regions such as Asia (outside Japan) and Africa, and will begin the process of identifying candidate races that will be required to meet AbbottWMM’s stringent criteria before selection for the Series.
The AbbottWMM Series comprise the world’s six greatest marathons: the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City marathons.
“Wanda is happy to partner with the Abbott World Marathon Majors, the most famous marathons in the world, to promote marathoning and healthy living.” said Wang Jianlin, Chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group. “Running is emerging rapidly in China and across Asia and we look forward both to bringing Chinese athletes to the Abbott World Marathon Major races and to help Abbott World Marathon Majors to expand the series.”
“Our Race Directors look forward to working with Wanda to introduce the Series to new audiences in new territories, and to involving our runners in new initiatives.” said Tim Hadzima, AbbottWMM General Manager. “Nearly a million people apply every year to run in AbbottWMM races and our new partnership with Wanda Group will develop this phenomenal interest in marathon running.”
The World Marathon Majors Series was founded in 2006 to advance the sport of marathon running and to honor the world’s best male and female runners and wheelchair athletes. Now, every year, more than 250,000 runners participate in the AbbottWMM races worldwide, raising nearly $150 million annually for good causes, and the Series celebrates its Six Star finishers, runners who have successfully completed all six races in the Series. Additionally, AbbottWMM is a world leader in anti-doping initiatives, financing the biggest private-funded drug testing program in sport.
After acquiring IRONMAN in 2015, Wanda Group has worked closely with their wholly owned subsidiary to find and develop beneficial growth opportunities in the endurance space. IRONMAN will play the lead role for Wanda in the partnership.
“Marathoning is growing rapidly outside of its historical center in Europe, North America and Japan.” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO for IRONMAN. “We look forward to working with AbbottWMM to find or develop great races in other parts of the world that can become members of this prestigious organization.”