Running shoes on the floor

How does your speed measure up against the average runner?

If you’re a runner, you’ve probably already asked yourself that question. Those runners who regularly race in spring and fall likely already have a good idea of how they compare to other competitors– you usually know if you’re a top-ten, middle-of-the-pack or in the top half kind of runner. 

Before we get ahead of ourselves, lets point out that running isn’t always about comparing yourself to others. Enjoying the action of running purely for what it is, arguably, is what makes the lifestyle so great. And anyone can do it. 

RELATED: Who gets to claim that they are a runner?

A little friendly competition does go a long way for many of us. That competitive edge often works as a motivational boost. If overtaking other runners on a race course is what’s getting you fit, hey, we’re all for it.

If you’re one of those self-doubting runners, you may also be due a reality check. We all know that runner who thinks they are slow and out of shape but then shows up to a race and places seventh. If you’re someone who tends to underestimate your abilities, some concrete statistics on average runner paces may be the emotional boost you need.

If you’re a marathon runner…

Last year, one of our bloggers with a knack for crunching the numbers looked into the ways in which we define terms like “sub-elite” and “middle of the pack.” Using results from the Chicago Marathon (in which over 40,000 compete), he removed the times which indicated that a competitor was a walker. He found that… 

4:15 is what a man has to run in a marathon to be in the top half. 

4:45 is the time a woman has to run to be in the top 50 per cent. 

3:00 for a finishing time makes a woman in the top per cent of her race and a man in the top five per cent. 

3:40 earns a man bragging rights for finishing in the top quarter. 

4:10 means a woman is in the top quarter of her race. 



4:45:30 is what Running USA says is the average marathon finishing time for a woman in 2015. 

4:20:13 is the average marathon for a man during the same period. 

If you opt to go half the distance

According to Running USA…

2:22:21 is the average female finishing time and… 

2:04:00 is the average male time for 21.1K. 

If you prefer to go hard in training

Consider the average paces of what Strava has dubbed the fastest cities in the world…

5:33 is the average pace of runners from Paris. 

5:36 is what Londoners’ paces averaged out to. 

5:42 is what Berlin runners are clocking for an average kilometre. 

If you’re more about the moderate to easy runs

Earlier this month, Shape Magazine reported that in 2016, the average American woman on Strava ran 4.6 miles at a pace of 9:55 per mile. In Canadian speak, that translates to 7.4 kilometres at a 6:10 pace



  • With all those marathons coming up this spring, it seems that running has become the ultimate hype. I’m also training for a marathon with SportMe running app which calculates distance, time, pace and calories.

  • They were the Best of years! I remember running with my beloved TOC (Toronto Olympic Club Training Runs along Lakeshore Blvd doing 10 (Ten) by 1 (one) Km Intervals, at a near flat out 2 Min 50 Sec’s to equal a 25 Min 10 Km plus a slightly hard Jog in between each Interval and receiving encouraging remarks from the Craig Brothers (John & Paul Twins “Hang onto us, Pete, Stay in there Buddy!!” was most assuring words to give a 39 year old!! Ahh.. I’d give anything possible to be there again!! The only self assurance I gave myself was my weekly total training distance would be approx., 80 Miles, “Not too Bagely, I said to myself!! Course that was 36 years ago, 4 knee + 2 low Back Operations, a bad bout with a virus, which turned into Meningitis after winning the Nanisivik Midnight Sun Marathon, earning me an 11 day vacation to NY Gen Hospital. What have I learned to be able to tell you aspiring Runners?! Training runs comprised of “Hard-Easy” 800M Intervals + good distance Running + 1 Day Off a Week.
    If you wish some Training or Coaching tips or a preliminary training regimin, ask me?
    Peter Clark

  • amanda smith says:

    I run way slower than any of these times but that doesn’t matter to me. I finished my 1st half marathon this year and run 5ks & 10ks weekly. I compete against myself only and if I am up, out and moving then I am winning in my books.

  • Christine says:

    Ah always thought I was a decent runner but realized that my BP at 352 for a 50 yrs women full marathon actually puts me above average! Great! I’m one of those constant doubters who wonders each time if the’ll be able to complete the full. Always do even with a strain ankle and pulled ligament along the way at 30k in – that one took me more like 530! But I bounced back with my BP!

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