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New data reveals London Marathon runners are getting faster

For anyone taking part in the London Marathon this weekend – you’re about to tackle one of the most challenging races in the world.

The data scientists at Strava looked at the average finishing times of the world’s six most famous marathons – Boston, Berlin, Chicago, Tokyo, London and New York, and found that the iconic UK race is one of the most challenging to complete, second only to the Big Apple’s.

Still, in other encouraging news, the Strava data, taken from 48,000 runners who completed the 2023 London Marathon, reveals that Londoners are becoming faster. The average finish time for the London Marathon in 2023 was 4:06:39, down from 4:18:34 in 2022.

And, if you’re wondering if all that training will pay off, the data certainly suggests so. Runners who clocked an impressive 3:30 finish ran anywhere between 313 and 517 miles in the 16 weeks leading up to the race, with the athletes who ran the most running nearly twice (1.8x) as much as those who ran the least.

preview for Jenni Falconer: My Road to the London Marathon | Runner's World Vodcast

Meanwhile, the typical athlete ran 499 miles in 16 weeks of training before the marathon, which is roughly the equivalent of running the distance from London to Aberdeen.

The data also looked at training paces across different age groups, and found that Gen X is on par with Gen Z, with Gen X runners achieving an average pace of 8.38 minutes per mile – only slightly slower than their younger Gen Z counterparts, who averaged 8.28 minutes per mile.

Of course, no matter what your pace, a marathon is no mean feat, and if come race day you find yourself slowing down, know that you’re not alone. Strava found that nearly half (46%) of runners slowed down by 10% after the first 20 miles, and more than one in six (16%) slowed down by 20%.

london marathon 2023

Known as ‘Bonking’ this is essentially a condition when your muscles run out of fuel. This also meant that those targeting a sub 4-hour finish instead clocked 4:24 and 4:48 respectively.

The average finish time and paces across all majors via Strava uploads:

  • Boston Marathon: 3:24:55 (4:51 min/km)
  • Berlin Marathon: 3:54:24 (5:33 min/km)
  • Chicago Marathon: 3:55:55 (5:35 min/km)
  • Tokyo Marathon: 3:57:45 (5:38 min/km)
  • London Marathon: 4:07:39 (5:52 min/km)
  • NYC Marathon: 4:19:04 (6:08 min/km)

For those running the London Marathon, the official London Marathon Strava Club can be joined here.


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