Shop Online Cart2

Fleet Feet Racing Teammates Earn Their 6-Star Finisher Medal in Tokyo

This past March, 3 of our Elite Team members of the New Balance Chicago Fleet Feet Racing Team completed their 6-star journey. 

What is the 6-star journey? Well, the Abbott World Marathon Majors puts on 6 marathons across 6 cities, 4 countries, and 3 continents to showcase some of the best running cities in the world. They consist of Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York. Many runners attempt ro run all 6 races, which earns them the coveted title of ‘6-Star Finisher.’

Recently, Michael Palmer, Collin Callahan, and Austin Hendrix earned this title at Tokyo marathon. Read on to learn more about their story.

Q: When did you first decide to tackle all 6 majors?

Michael: After running my first marathon (also my first major) NYC 2013, I started researching the best ways to get into the remaining 5 majors. Running all 6 immediately became a goal of mine after earning star #1!

Collin: I decided in 2019 when my husband, Austin, suggested we both try running Berlin that year. With the help of a Marathon Tours group, I was in! Since I was knocking out one of the international majors as my first of the 6, I figured I might as well target them all. Two weeks later, I got my 2nd star at Chicago, although I don’t recommend doing it that way!

Austin:  It wasn't really until I had already completed a few of the world majors that I set it as an official goal. In the Fall of 2019 my husband Collin (who also just completed his 6th star) and I ran the Berlin Marathon. After that race I remember thinking about how cool of an opportunity it was to use running as the reason to travel to new parts of the world. Around that time is when I got serious about wanting to complete all 6 majors.  

Q: How long did it take you to accomplish this?

Michael: 10 Years and 4 Months ! Star #1 = November, 2013 (NYC), Star #6 = March, 2024 (Tokyo)

Collin: From 2019 to 2024, so around 5 years! I’m very lucky to have completed this journey in such a short amount of time, especially not being able to run any majors in 2020!

Austin: The full journey was just over a decade long! The first world major that I completed was Chicago in October 2013. 

Q: Which was your favorite race to run of the 6?

Michael: The FFRT teamwork on display in the 2022 Chicago Marathon ultimately led to my PR (2:34:17). For me, this is the race I look back on the most fondly and that I am the most proud of. 

Collin: My favorite race was New York City! Two things I value a lot in a race are an exciting course and great crowds, and NYC does both of those things well. Running through each of the boroughs was exhilarating and the bridges kept things interesting. The crowd was also one of the most energetic and consistent I’ve seen throughout an entire course. Although, I do have to mention, Chicago is a close second on my list!

Austin: Living in Chicago, it's really hard to not pick the Chicago Marathon as my favorite. It's a fast course and it's always incredible to share the streets with so many teammates and be cheered along by so many others. The Chicago Marathon definitely has a special place in my heart. It's also my PR, so that helps :) Outside of Chicago, I really enjoyed the New York City Marathon. I think it's the most challenging of the world majors, but comes with the best crowds of spectators. From the second you get dropped off in Staten Island and are greeted with "New York New York" by Frank Sinatra all the way through each borough, the energy is electric. And such a fun way to see all of New York City! Just make sure you do some hill training, the bridges are no joke. 

Q: Which was your favorite city to visit?

Michael: London. Great mix of experiencing a different culture without having a language barrier. Post race pints and "toasties" (UK version of a panini) with my wife and some fellow Fleet Feet teammates was peak London for me.

Collin: My favorite city to visit was probably Berlin! The city had such a unique blend of historical and modern architecture and art. While being a huge cultural change as well, it was still easy to maneuver and enjoy. I may be biased however, because during that trip I was able to visit some family I have in Germany as well as stop by Oktoberfest for some celebratory post-marathon liters!

Austin: This is a really tough question. Can I pick them all? Living in the US, the international races felt a bit more "special" in terms of cities to be visiting. If I had to pick just one, I would go with London. We had a really fun group go over there and run the race together. We got to hit up some really fun local pubs and went to a West Ham United game. A really fun couple of days of celebrating post race. 

Q: What does being a 6-star finisher mean to you?

Michael: Proof of what inspiration, hard work, dedication and community can translate into.

Collin: Being a 6-star finisher means accomplishing a unique goal that not many people get the chance to experience! It makes me proud of the years training, patience, traveling, and relationships that come with marathon running around the world! I’m extremely grateful for everyone I’ve gotten to share miles with along the way!

Austin: I'm really grateful to be a 6-star finisher. Many of the races are quite difficult to get into, expensive to get to, and require months and months of good health and dedication to complete. It's also not a solo journey. It would not have been possible with constant support from teammates, friends, family, and coaches. It was an incredible journey, and one I feel lucky to have completed. 

Q: Thoughts on Sydney? Are you in for a 7th star if it came about?

Michael: Initially after Tokyo and earning my sixth star, I was leaning towards no. Now that over a month has passed, obviously I want to do Sydney when it becomes star #7 

Collin: I’m down! In fact, if I have my way I won’t be running another marathon until it’s added. I’m ready for a little break and to focus on shorter race distances!

Austin: I'm crossing my fingers that it gets added. An excuse to travel to Oceania (would 100% have to go to New Zealand as part of the trip) sounds amazing. Sign me up!

Connect With Us

see the latest from Fleet Feet Chicago