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Shelter Islander completes his 20th marathon in Tokyo: Adam Bundy chasing his dream in Japan

Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin and Tokyo. In the world of marathon running, these prestigious races are known as the “Abbott World Marathon Majors.” Completing all six is a coveted honor recognized by receiving a special Six Star Finisher medal.

That along with bragging rights for having solved the puzzle of race entry, fundraising, travel and training for the largest marathons on three continents. 

Since his first marathon in 2011, Adam Bundy has dreamed of achieving this feat. On March 3, he came one step closer, finishing the Tokyo Marathon with this writer in what was his 20th marathon to date.

Completing number five of the six Majors leaves us with only the Boston Marathon and Adam’s dream becoming reality.

Boston poses a particularly tall hurdle. It’s the only Marathon Major without a lottery entry, requiring either a qualifying time from another race or a charity entry. Both are elusive targets, with Boston qualifying times reaching mystifyingly fast paces that continue to lower every year.

Meanwhile, most charities expect participants to raise at least $15,000, and still turn away the majority of applicants as demand surges. A tiny handful of remaining slots are given to race sponsors and organizers to use as they see fit.

Undaunted, Adam and I are hoping for some miraculously good fortune to secure spots for the 2025 Boston Marathon when they are handed out this fall, which would let us complete our Six Star journey together.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed that after years of trying, we’ll get a charity to finally accept us, or maybe even receive a sponsor slot. As Adam learned in the Marine Corps, you can’t quit until the mission is complete.