What Is Good Marathon Time

When it comes to running marathons, one of the most common questions that runners and enthusiasts ask is “What is considered a good marathon time?” As an avid marathon runner myself, I understand the importance of setting goals and working towards achieving them. In this article, I will delve deep into the topic of marathon times and provide you with some personal insights and commentary along the way.

Setting the Marathon Standard

Marathon races are traditionally 26.2 miles long, and the world record for men is currently held by Eliud Kipchoge, who finished the Berlin Marathon in a staggering time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 39 seconds. For women, the record is held by Brigid Kosgei, who completed the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 4 seconds.

While these times may seem unattainable for most runners, it’s important to remember that these records represent the pinnacle of human performance. As recreational runners, our goals and expectations will naturally differ from those of elite athletes. Therefore, it’s essential to set realistic goals that align with our own abilities and training.

Factors Affecting Marathon Times

There are several factors that can influence your marathon time, including:

  1. Experience: Beginners may have a slower pace compared to seasoned marathon runners. It takes time to build endurance, strength, and knowledge on how to pace oneself during a race.
  2. Training: The quality and consistency of your training play a significant role in determining your marathon time. Following a well-structured training plan, including long runs, speed workouts, and rest days, can help improve your overall performance.
  3. Course Difficulty: The terrain and elevation of the marathon course can impact your time. Hilly courses tend to be more challenging and can slow down even the most experienced runners.
  4. Weather Conditions: Extreme heat, cold, wind, or rain can affect your performance on race day. It’s essential to prepare and adjust your pace accordingly.

Personal Perspective

As someone who has completed multiple marathons, I can attest that a good marathon time is subjective and unique to each individual. It’s crucial to focus on personal progress rather than comparing yourself to others. Your first marathon time may be significantly different from your current personal best, and that’s perfectly fine.

I remember the sense of accomplishment and joy I felt when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. It didn’t matter to me that my time was slower compared to some other runners; what mattered was that I had achieved a goal I had set for myself. It’s important to cherish these personal milestones and celebrate them regardless of the time it took.


In conclusion, defining what is considered a good marathon time can be a complex and subjective matter. It depends on various factors, including experience, training, course difficulty, and weather conditions. As an individual runner, it’s vital to set realistic goals and focus on personal progress rather than comparing yourself to elite athletes or others. Remember, completing a marathon is an incredible achievement, regardless of the time it takes. So set your own goals, enjoy the journey, and savor the accomplishment of crossing that finish line.