Amy Cragg poses after finishing third in the marathon at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.
If, at the start of 2017, you wished for American marathoners to deliver historic, unforgettable, tear-inducing runs on World Marathon Majors stages throughout the year, then 1) your wish-granted rate ballooned and 2) you should get paid to give wishing advice.
Who woulda thought? An article toward the end of the year ranking several noteworthy American marathon performances from major 26.2-mile races—from the same 365-day span.
TIMEOUT: Wait, what are the World Marathon Majors? Apologies for any confusion caused by “WMM” in the headline. I’ll proceed to give the abbreviated explanation of the WMM: A series of six of the best, most competitive marathons in the world (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York City) scores points to determine a male and female winner of each cycle, with the winner snatching $500,000. NOTE: Olympics and IAAF World Championships have a say, too. For example, this year, the London World Championships marathon counted as a WMM race.
Point allocation for each race:
- 1st place — 25 points
- 2nd place — 16 points
- 3rd place — 9 points
- 4th place — 4 points
- 5th place — 1 point
We are in Series XI (they officially use Roman numerals) of the WMM, which consists of the following eight races:
The current WMM series flows into 2018, but for the sake of this article and the following rankings, I’m scratching series, cycles—whatever you wanna call them—and choosing from solely 2017 WMM-labeled races. I picked the top seven from these 2017 races: Tokyo, Boston, London, IAAF World Championships, Berlin, Chicago, New York City.
TIME IN: Still with me? Good stuff ahead. The depth of American marathoning success made this an unenviable ranking task. As a fan of USA distance running, you should be exuberant about that, almost bewildered.
Arguably the best year ever for American marathoners? As Shalane Flanagan would say, “F–k yes!”
7. Laura Thweatt, London Marathon, April 23
Laura Thweatt finished more than eight minutes behind the leader, but the top two women at London—Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba, respectively—went sub-2:18 (!), with Keitany setting the women’s-only world record (2:17:01). There was plenty of noise at the front, but Thweatt’s 2:25:38 sixth-place finish didn’t wash away in silence.