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Here’s how much of a head start you’d need to beat Kipchoge

Would you even be half-way? See how far behind you'd be of Kipchoge when he ran his world record marathon in Berlin

Kipchoge breaks the tape at the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon in a new world record time of 2:01:39. Photo: Getty Images

By now you’ve heard the news about Eliud Kipchoge smashing the marathon world record, running an astonishing time of 2:01:39 at the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon.

RELATED: Kipchoge smashes world record at BMW Berlin Marathon

Running 2:01:39 requires a mind-boggling pace of 2:52/K for 42.2K. You may have seen the following viral infographic which asks you to see how long you could maintain that crazy fast pace. For most of us, it would be only a few hundred metres.

Well in another scenario, let’s see how far you’d be behind when Kipchoge crossed the line. And how much of a head start you’d require to equal Kipchoge’s time.


Using the chart below, locate the 42.2K time that most closely lines up with what you can run for the marathon. Now, assuming you started at the same time (and maintained a steady pace), column 2 (“Same start”) represents how much distance you’d have covered when Kipchoge broke the tape in Berlin. The third column (“Handicap”) represents how much of a head start you’d need to finish at the same time.

Example: If you can run a 3:30 marathon, you’d only be at the 24.4K mark of the race when Kipchoge finished his world record run. You’d also require a 17.8K head start in order to stay ahead of Kipchoge (and odds are you wouldn’t be smiling at the finish like Eliud was).

42.2K Time Same start Handicap
2:01:39* NA NA
2:10:09^ 39.4K 2.8K
2:28# 34.7K 7.5K
2:30 34.2K 8.0K
2:45 31.1K 11.1K
3:00 28.5K 13.7K
3:15 26.3K 15.9K
3:30 24.4K 17.8K
3:45 22.8K 19.4K
4:00 21.4K 20.8K
4:15 20.1K 22.1K
4:30 19.0K 23.2K
5:00 18.0K 24.2K

*Current World Record (Eliud Kipchoge, BMW Berlin 2018)

^ Canadian Men’s Marathon Record (Jerome Drayton, Fukuoka 1975)

# Canadian Women’s Marathon Record (Lanni Marchant, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 2013)