We all took notice of the “IAAF Road Race Gold” label being proudly displayed next to this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon logo, but what does it really mean?

Let’s take things from the beginning, IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics. It was founded on 17 July 1912  in Stockholm, Sweden, under the name of International Amateur Athletics Federation. Since October 1993, it has been headquartered in Monaco. It retained the word “amateur” in its name until 2001 when the IAAF’s name was changed to its current form. Included in its charge, amongst others, are the standardization of timekeeping methods and world records.

Each year, IAAF grants recognition to a number of running events as being among the foremost competitions of their type. Races are divided into three categories: Gold, Silver, and Bronze Label Road Races. They are also divided into three types: marathon, half marathon, and other classic distances. Based on the criteria, the best races are awarded the Gold label. Amongst those to hold Gold Label status are all five annual races that make up the World Marathon Majors and the World’s Best 10K.

IAAF Road Race Labels
IAAF Road Race Labels 


  • Eligible races categories: Marathons, Half-Marathons, other “official distances” for which World Records are recognised: 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 100km and “Classical” races over non-standard distances (i.e. Paris – Versailles over 17.6km).
  • Races must have an ‘international elite field’ with a minimum of five men and five women participating in the competition in the relevant Label category. Elite runners must be of at least 5 different nationalities (note: this could be, for example, elite men from 3 countries and elite women from 2 countries for mixed gender races).
  • Courses must have been measured within the 5 years preceding the race by an IAAF/AIMS “A” or “B” Course Measurer and an International Measurement Certificate issued by the International Measurement Administrator
  • Full electronic timing must be in place to provide split timing and final results.
  • The event must be broadcasted on a live or delayed basis on television within the country, or delivered to a good standard through online streaming. Gold Label races must be broadcast in a minimum of five countries, while Silver Label races must have live coverage available on a national broadcaster. A centre must be specifically provided for media personnel, and TV monitors and commentary facilities must be present for Gold Label races.
  • The race organisers must have a dedicated website with published results and must hold press conferences to support the event.
  • Race must have been established for at least 2 years prior to application.
  • The race must be organised in a way that minimizes ecological damage to the surrounding areas.
  • All traffic must be closed off from the race course at all times during the competition.
  • There must be adequate medical provision for the number of runners at the race.
  • A number of doping tests must  be carried out after each race.
  • All prize money and bonuses offered should be equal, irrespective of the athlete’s nationality or gender – however, race organisers are allowed to offer additional bonuses to competitors from the host country in order to boost local participation.
  • All Gold Label Races must provide a giant video screen

The complete regulations document can be downloaded here [pdf].

How are long-distance races measured?

AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races) works in partnership with IAAF, and together have adopted the calibrated bicycle method as the only approved method for measuring road races. In this method, a simple geared device known as The Jones Counter, which counts the revolutions of a bicycle wheel is used. The device is calibrated by a measuring tape at least 30 meters long. Next, the bicycle is ridden over the race course to determine its length. Finally the bicycle is recalibrated by riding again over the calibration distance. This is done to check for changes in bicycle wheel diameter due to temperature changes, air leakage and other causes. The method’s overall accuracy, depending on calibration and other factors, is normally better than 1 part in 1000, that is, about 42 meters over the course of a full marathon. The extra 42 meters are there because international rules state that all races must be measured one-tenth of 1% long, a provision known as the Short Course Prevention Factor. The point of it is to err on the side of safety to ensure that the course cannot possibly be found to come up short in case of a record. If an independent measurer did find the course to be short, the record would be invalidated.

IAAF Label Road Races 2013

The labels are valid for one year and a new application must be filed for the preceding one. These is the list of events that were awarded the labels this year.

IAAF Gold Label Road Races:

  • Amsterdam Marathon
  • Beijing Marathon
  • Berlin Marathon
  • Bogotá Half Marathon
  • Bogotá Women’s 12K
  • Boston Marathon
  • Chicago Marathon
  • Dubai Marathon
  • Frankfurt Marathon
  • Fukuoka Marathon
  • Giro di Castelbuono
  • Great Manchester Run
  • Great North Run
  • Great South Run
  • Hamburg Marathon
  • Istanbul Marathon
  • Lake Biwa Marathon
  • Lisbon Half Marathon
  • London Marathon
  • Nagoya Women’s Marathon
  • New York City Marathon
  • Paris Marathon
  • Portugal Half Marathon
  • Prague Half Marathon
  • Prague Marathon
  • Roma-Ostia Half Marathon
  • Rome Marathon
  • Rotterdam Marathon
  • Seoul International Marathon
  • Shanghai Marathon
  • Singapore Marathon
  • Tokyo Marathon
  • Vienna City Marathon
  • World’s Best 10K
  • Xiamen International Marathon
  • Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon
A Gold Label certification. Image courtesy: www.dubaimarathon.org
A Gold Label certification.
Image courtesy: www.dubaimarathon.org

IAAF Silver Label Road Races:

  • Osaka Women’s Marathon
  • Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon
  • Beppu-Ōita Marathon
  • Hong Kong Marathon
  • Daegu Marathon
  • Great Ireland Run
  • Madrid Marathon
  • Ottawa 10K
  • Ottawa Marathon
  • Freihofer’s Run for Women
  • Olomouc Half Marathon
  • Prague 10K
  • Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon
  • Dam tot Damloop
  • Cologne Marathon
  • Great Birmingham Run
  • Toronto Waterfront Marathon
  • Marseille Cassis 20K
  • Venice Marathon
  • Yokohama Women’s Marathon
  • Turin Marathon
  • San Silvestre Vallecana

IAAF Bronze Label Road Races:

  • Maraton de Santiago
  • Pyongyang Marathon
  • Brighton Marathon
  • Nagano Marathon
  • Düsseldorf Marathon
  • Hannover Marathon
  • Riga Marathon
  • Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon
  • Edinburgh Marathon
  • Corrida de Langueux
  • Vidovdan 10K
  • Gold Coast Marathon
  • Siberian International Marathon
  • Paris 20K
  • Beirut Marathon
  • Alpes-Maritimes Marathon
  • Valencia Marathon
  • Corrida de Houilles

Official worldwide IAAF Label Road Races Calendar & Results: 2013 || 2014