London Marathon average and best finishing times – and what YOU need to do to win


Do you just a good time – or do you actually one to want to win the London Marathon ?

Approximately 40,000 men and women will line up at the start in Blackheath, south-east London on Sunday.

For many runners, the goal will be just to finish the 26.2 mile race after months of training in the cold and the dark – but some will be eyeing up specific times or even dreaming of winning it altogether.

So how fast do you need to run to win it?

Well, let’s take the elite athletes out of it. Last year’s general fastest time was Josh Griffiths in 2:14:49. But he’s a little different as he’s a club runner from Swansea who began on the Championship start but amazingly beat the British elite.

Josh Griffiths finishes as fastest Briton in London Marathon – despite not starting in elite event

So let’s look at 2015 to see where you may come.

The Mirror analysed more than 37,000 finishing times of the 2015 runners in the general section open to the public – not the elite or wheelchair athletes.

How to win the race

Bahrain’s Rose Chelimo wins the women’s marathon athletics event at the 2017

The 2015 general men’s winner was Ian Kimpton of Luton Athletic Club. He finished in two hours, 15 minutes and 51 seconds (2:15:51).

To be in with a chance of winning the men’s general race, you need to be hitting the halfway mark just after Tower Bridge at about one hour 7 minutes.

London Marathon records

2:04:29

Men’s – Wilson Kipsang (2014)

2:15:25

Women’s – Paula Radcliffe (2003)

The 2015 general women’s winner was Paula Radcliffe. The women’s world record holder was in the general section last year – she finished first in two hours, 36 minutes and 35 seconds (2:36:55).

To be in with a chance of beating Paula’s 2015 time, you need to be hitting the half marathon mark at about one hour 20 minutes.

To finish in less than three hours

Runners reach the nineteen mile mark at Canary Wharf during the Virgin London Marathon

Finishing with a time of between two and three hours in 2015 would have put you in the top eight per cent of men and the top one per cent of women.

You are best off allowing a little extra time in the second half of the marathon – runners who made it round in under three hours were usually at the halfway mark by 1:28:30.

To finish in less than four hours

London Marathon runners come in all shapes and sizes

If you made it to the end by four hours, you were in the top 47 per cent of men and the top 22 per cent of women.

Men who finished in less than four hours were usually at halfway by 1:55:00 and women by 1:57:00.

A few facts to get you motivated

  • 386,050 applicants tried out for 2018 race – the most ever
  • 2:03:05 is men’s fastest time set by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in 2016

  • 3 hours 48 mins is the average time for male finishers

  • 2:15:25 is Paula Radcliffe women’s world record set in 2003

  • 4 hours 23 mins is the average time for female finishers

  • 40,000 finishers’ medals will be handed out for the main race
  • 39,487 finished the event in 2017 – the most ever

London Marathon men – what % finish in which time?

Trinity Mirror Data Unit



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