Thursday, 26 December 2013

Average Half Marathon Time For Men & Women

When starting out on a half marathon it is good to understand the average time it takes to complete. It is first and foremost just a sensible thing to find out, and will also become very important when it comes to arranging your training and your race plan.

So let us have a look at the average times that are run for a half marathon. Please note these are different for male and female runners.

The Half Marathon Distance and Times

Average Half Marathon Time
The official distance of a half marathon is exactly 13.1094 miles. For those who prefer the metric equivalent it is 21.0975 Km. So, as you start to make your plans, the focus should be on being able to run 13 miles or 21 kilometres. The extra little distance will take care of itself.

Sometimes event organizers will refer to the half marathon race as the 21K, 21.1K or 13.1 Mile race. Strictly speaking none of these are of course correct, but the important thing to note is that all events will have the correct distance when you enter the race.

Without doubt half marathons are the fastest growing type of race in the world today. The main reason for this is actually pretty simple. The full 26 mile marathon for most people is just too far out of their range. So now that we know the exact distance let us have a look at the average times.

Current World Time Records For The Half Marathon

For those of you who like statistics here are the current world records for the half marathon:

  • Men - 58:23 which was set by Zersenay Tadese of Eritres on 21st March 2010 in the capital city of Portugal known as Lisbon.
  • Women - 1:05:50 which was set by Mary Keitany of Kenya in Ras al-Khaimah which is in the United Arab Emirates
Now I would suggest that very few of us will ever get close to those sorts of times. I include it only to show you what can be achieved by both men and women at the very top of their game. However, we need to look at more realistic times which is what I have shown below.

Average Times For A Half Marathon By Age

Before we look at the exact average times there are two main determining factors for half marathon times. These are:

The first one is actually the most important. The half marathon is an endurance race as it is over a long distance so stamina and then speed will always determine your best time. The fitter that you can become at running long distances then the better chance you will have of improving times.

Age is also important. The simple fact of life is that as we age we naturally slow down as the muscles weaken. Now that said a man of 56 could still run faster than a less fit 30 year old man.

However the fact remains that if they both had identical levels of fitness, the younger man would run a faster time. The same applies to women and level of fitness and age matter a lot.

Average Times For The Half Marathon For Men & Women By Age

Please remember these are average times taken over a long period of time. Individual performances are influenced by the degree of fitness. The other things to bear in mind is that these are average times right across the age groups irrespective of fitness levels. This would include fun runners and charity runners.

Those who would have prepared and trained would be coming in faster than this.

In the table below you will see the age, and then the average time for a man, and then the average time for a woman.

So if you look at the first entry below a male aged 17 takes 2.03 hours and a woman aged 17 takes 2.67 hours on average. To the right of that you will see that this means the male runs the average mile in 9.31 minutes and the average woman in 12.24 mins. That should give you an idea of pace.

Average Times in HoursAverage Time (mins) per Mile
AGEMenWomenMen Women
172.032.679.3112.24
182.032.259.3210.31
192.052.459.4111.22
202.032.239.3110.22
212.052.439.3711.12
222.062.259.4410.31
232.032.269.3210.37
242.062.269.4510.34
252.052.279.4110.38
262.052.279.3710.4
272.032.289.3110.43
282.052.299.3910.5
292.042.299.3310.49
302.052.289.410.43
312.042.319.3510.58
322.072.299.4710.48
332.022.319.2710.59
342.052.419.3711.04
352.072.299.510.48
362.052.419.4111.03
372.062.319.4210.58
382.062.299.4310.51
392.052.419.4111.06
402.052.439.3811.15
412.042.419.3611.03
422.042.439.3411.11
432.052.419.3711.03
442.042.429.3511.1
452.192.4310.0311.15
462.072.479.4911.3
472.062.439.4411.12
482.062.479.4211.3
492.192.4810.0411.37
502.042.499.3611.42
512.192.6310.0412.04
522.092.649.5812.07
532.252.5210.3211.52
542.242.7410.2512.54
552.202.7210.0612.47
562.292.6910.5112.33
572.252.7310.312.49
582.222.8510.1813.07
592.292.9110.4713.31
602.282.9410.4613.45
612.432.8611.1313.12
622.433.0611.1114.02
632.412.9111.0413.32
642.492.8711.413.15
652.643.1412.0714.36
662.643.1012.0814.22
672.483.1411.3614.38
682.663.1712.1914.51
692.673.0912.2514.15
702.693.1212.3414.29
712.702.9112.3813.33
722.633.1712.0614.51
732.482.9311.3813.44
742.713.1412.414.4
753.623.1216.5914.3
762.253.1710.3214.54
773.613.3016.5215.1
783.173.3114.5215.15
792.953.3213.4915.22
803.073.4914.0516
813.563.8216.3217.49
823.1414.4
833.8317.56
843.9418.05
853.3215.21

Summary of Half Marathon Times

From this you can see that the average male takes about 2 hours to complete a half marathon and the average women takes about 2.5 hours.The average man is therefore running each mile in 9.5 minutes and the average women in just over 12 minutes.

By following a dedicated training plan you can get this down to around 1 hour and 30 minutes. A typical training plan like this will consist of 12 week's training and running 6 days a week. This is very possible for most people, and although it is tough enough at the time, the rewards are very good when you cross that finishing line.

Setting A Target Time

When starting out do not get over ambitious. Personally I set myself the time of 2 hours, after I had completed my own training program. On my first real effort I managed to get this done in 1 hour and 47 minutes and I was very pleased with that.

I then kept going until I got to 1 hour and 29 minutes and that was for me a huge success. The important thing to remember though is to have a plan and then stick to it. That means doing do things really. The first is to mentally prepare and the second is to follow a well thought out plan.

If you can do both of these, then you will succeed.