Long-distance runners know that having a major event to look forward to is one of the main motivators during all those weekly training sessions. Having a goal gets you through when all you want to do is quit. I know because I once tried to quit 19 kilometres into one of Sydney’s half marathons. I didn’t; I hobbled to the finish line at Sydney Opera House, in part because that’s where the snacks would be. My ultimate reward.

So for any runners planning to achieve a half-marathon distance in 2024, we bring bad news. The spring Sydney Half Marathon, planned for September 15, is no longer going ahead.

The organisers have permanently scrapped the 21.1-kilometre run from the annual program. An email was sent to competitors on Thursday, as reported by the AFR, to help elevate the main event – the 42.2 kilometre – to “major” marathon status.

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The World Marathon Majors series is one of those extra-special marathon events that long-distance runners like to tick off the list. There are six World Majors events: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

Sydney Marathon organiser Athletics Australia has been bidding for our city’s event to be included in that list. As ours is a race that takes in Sydney Harbour Bridge, Centennial Parklands and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, finishing at the Opera House, it would be a pretty scenic addition to the top ranking events.

Lucky for us, there’s another – just as scenic – Sydney half marathon in May. The Hoka Runaway Sydney Half Marathon takes place on May 5, 2024. It’s usually crisp autumnal weather (which you might say is better for running than sticky spring humidity), and the route is just as beautiful.

This year’s May event is already sold out, so if you have your heart set on smashing a personal best in a half marathon, start planning for 2025. Or double your distance and sign up for the full Sydney Marathon in September, before it becomes an event with even more global entrants.