Marathon running has become a popular sport around the globe.
The distance between two points is measured in miles (1.6 km) and is usually run over a course of 26.2 miles (42.195 km).
The fastest marathon time was achieved by Ethiopian Abebe Bikila who ran 2 hours, 3 minutes and 59 seconds at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
He broke the previous record of 2 hours, 4 minutes and 40 seconds held by American Roger Bannister.
But, what would the average time be for a beginner runner, or someone who is less experienced?
Today, in this article, we will be looking at what a ‘good’ time to finish a marathon would be. Let’s get into it.
How Long Does It Take To Run A Full Marathon?
The average time it takes to complete a full marathon is 3:05:00.
But, this depends on several factors such as your fitness level, weather conditions, and whether you’re competing against others.
When you’re preparing for a marathon, you should start with shorter distances like 5Ks and half-marathons.
These events allow you to test your endurance without having to worry about running 26.2 miles.
When you’re ready, you’ll be able to increase the distance gradually.
And, once you’ve reached your goal, you can continue practicing over longer periods of time.
So, how long does it take to run a full marathon? It all depends on how much time you put into preparing for the race.
If you train consistently for six months before attempting the event, you may be able to finish in under 4 hours.
But if you only have a few weeks to prepare, you might not make it past 10K. It also depends on the type of race you choose.
Some races require you to run at an even pace, whereas others let you pick your own pace.
If you decide to compete in a race where you can set your own pace, you’ll likely be able to finish in less than four hours.
But if you’re competing in a race where you must follow a predetermined schedule, you’ll most likely spend more time running.
The Average Time To Finish A Marathon
First things first: there are no official records for an average time to complete a marathon.
However, statistics have been compiled from various races and competitions where many runners have taken part.
These numbers can then be used as a reference point for how long it takes to complete a race.
For example, the New York City Marathon which is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world had its inaugural race in 1970.
Since then, the event has been held every year except during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
In total, there have been more than 1 million finishers since the start of the race.
In 2010, the average finishing time was reported to be 3 hours and 31 minutes.
This means that on average, it took about 3 hours and 31 minutes to complete the entire race.
This statistic comes from a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University.
They found that the average marathon runner covered approximately 6.5 miles per hour while completing the race.
This means that if you were able to maintain your pace throughout the whole race, you could expect to cover roughly 13.3 miles in just under three hours.
If you were slightly slower, you could expect to take closer to 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach the finish line.
If you’re thinking that these figures seem low, they actually aren’t.
A recent report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the average person covers only 5.4 miles per hour while walking.
If you were to walk at this rate, you should be able to cover 8.8 miles in just under three and a half hours.
So, let’s see how much time it would take to complete a marathon using these different speeds.
Running Pace – Walking Pace
- 0-3 mph 0-3 mph
- 3-5 mph 3.6 mph
- 5-7 mph 5.4 mph
- 7-9 mph 7.2 mph
- 9-11 mph 9.4 mph
- 11-13 mph 11.2 mph
- 13-15 mph 12.8 mph
- 15-17 mph 14.6 mph
- 17-19 mph 16.4 mph
- 19-21 mph 18.2 mph
- 21-23 mph 20.8 mph
- 23-25 mph 22.6 mph
- 25-27 mph 24.4 mph
- 27-29 mph 25.2 mph
- 29-31 mph 27.0 mph
Typical Marathon Time For First-Time Marathoners
First-time marathon runners often experience some form of injury during the first few months of training.
These injuries are usually caused by improper technique.
For example, many people who attempt to run too fast will end up landing awkwardly on their feet.
This causes stress on muscles and tendons, which leads to inflammation and soreness.
In addition, many new runners don’t warm up properly prior to starting out. This can lead to cramps and stiffness in the legs.
To avoid these problems, you need to pay attention to proper form.
And, you’ll need to learn how to recognize when you’re experiencing pain. This way, you can stop running immediately and rest.
As you become more experienced, you’ll develop better techniques that will help you prevent future injuries.
You’ll also be able to run faster and farther. That means you’ll be able to save more time during your next marathon.
Factors Affecting Marathon Time
Now that we know how fast a typical runner runs, let’s look at some factors that may affect the time it takes to complete a marathon.
One of the biggest factors that impacts the time it takes to run a marathon is weather conditions.
For example, when the temperature is below freezing, your ability to generate heat through your body decreases.
As a result, you’ll need to work harder to keep warm.
When the temperature is above freezing, however, your body generates more heat through exercise.
This makes running easier and faster. The same goes for humidity levels.
High humidity levels make it difficult to breathe properly and cause fatigue.
When running in hot temperatures or humid environments, you’ll want to drink plenty of water before, during, and after the race.
You should also wear light clothing, so you don’t overheat.
Another factor that will determine how long it takes to run a full marathon is distance.
The farther you travel, the longer it will take to reach the finish line because you’ll need to expend more energy to get there.
For example, if you ran a 10K (half-marathon) instead of a full marathon, you’d likely finish in less than an hour.
However, if you ran a full marathon instead of a 10K, you might have to spend up to 2 hours and 40 minutes getting to the finish line.
In addition to traveling further, you’ll also burn more calories as you go along.
So, even though you’ll cover the same amount of ground, you’ll still use up more fuel.
As you age, your body becomes weaker and requires more effort to move around. This can slow down your pace considerably.
In fact, according to research conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, people between 50 and 59 years old are capable of covering about 6.5 miles per hour.
This is compared to those who are younger, which can run as fast as 7.5 miles per hour!
Women tend to outrun men. In fact, women typically cover approximately 1/3 mile per hour more than their male counterparts.
This means that a woman could potentially run a marathon in about two hours and 15 minutes while a man would need closer to three hours and 30 minutes.
However, this difference isn’t very large.
If you’re looking to improve your performance, try to focus on speed training rather than strength training.
Strength training helps build muscle mass, but speed training focuses on improving your cardiovascular system.
If you’re planning to run a marathon, you’ll probably want to pick a specific pace that you think you can maintain throughout the entire event.
You can do this by dividing the total length of the course into smaller segments.
Then, calculate what pace you think you can sustain for each segment.
Once you’ve determined your ideal pace, you can practice maintaining it until you feel comfortable doing so.
Once you’re ready, you can then adjust your pace based on any changes in terrain or other obstacles.
Marathon Finishing Time Statistics
According to RunningUSA, here’s a list of average finishing times for different races:
- 10K – 32:00
- Half-marathon – 1:30:00
- Full-marathon – 3:05:00
- Ultra-marathon – 8:35:00
Running a marathon isn’t easy. But, with enough dedication and practice, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the challenge.
Once you’re ready, you should focus on building strength and stamina.
This way, your body won’t feel tired or exhausted after completing the event.
You’ll also want to consider choosing a race that’s appropriate for your skill level.
If you’re just getting started, you might benefit from taking part in a 5K or Half Marathon.
But, if you’re already familiar with running, you might prefer a full marathon.
Regardless of what race you select, you’ll want to do everything possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.