What is a good half marathon time?

What Is A Good Half Marathon Time By Age & Gender – UPDATED 2022

Since the 1950’s the half marathon has gained huge popularity. Originally formed as an alternative to the full marathon distance, the half has become just as popular with runners.

Many elite runners use a half marathon to prepare for a full, while others choose to focus and test themselves over the half distance. In this article, we discuss what is a good half marathon time and compare times by age and gender. This will give you an understanding of how fast different ages can cover the distance.

So, if this event is your next goal, keep reading to find out what is a good half marathon time.

What is A Half Marathon?

The half marathon is primarily a road race over 13.1094 miles or 21.0975 km. However, there are more and more offroad half marathons popping up all over the world. It is a hugely popular distance, and thousands of events take place around the world each year.

During the running boom of the 50’s race organizers tried to find an alternative event to the marathon. What they found was the half marathon sat perfectly between a 10km and marathon. Thus the half marathon event was born.

The first recognized record was set by Ron Hill in Freckleton in 1965 and the first championships took place in 1992.

However, the half marathon is not part of a World Athletics Championships or an Olympic Games. Though it is run every two years as a World Half Marathon Championships.

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What Is The Distance Of A Half Marathon?

What Is The Distance Of A Half Marathon?

The exact distance of a half marathon is 13.1094 miles. However, for others outside the imperial measurements, it is 21.0975 kilometers.

Most events are staged around a loop-style course and on asphalt and certain events are measured through strict protocols, so the runners cover the right distance.

The finishing order of an event is based on time. With the elite runners starting first and then the amateurs. Some events are run as waves, where large groups of runners set off with a short time delay between each group, which is usually based on their estimated finishing time. However, the most common format is for everyone to start together.


What Is A Good Half Marathon Time?

Generally for beginners, finishing in under 2 hours is considered a good time. That means covering the distance with an average pace of 9:09 minutes per mile. However, for the more experienced runner, most expect a much quicker time.

These types of runners are more likely to run between 1 hour 20 minutes (6:51 minutes per mile) and 1 hour 30 minutes (6:06 minutes per mile).

Then above your experienced runner is the sub-elite. The sub-elite, are typically your runner that trains at least 4 days per week. These types of runners generally run between 1 hour 10 minutes (5:21 minutes per mile) and 1 hour 20 minutes (6:51 minutes per mile) for males.

Then you have the elite runner. For the elite runner, anything below 65 minutes (4:58 minutes per mile) is classed as a good half marathon time. However, that is still not fast enough on the world circuit and most professional runners are running under 62 minutes (4:44 minutes per mile).

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If you are curious about what is a good half marathon time by age there is a good database of times collected for each age group by

They also provide detailed times based on gender and kilometer or mile splits.

What Is A Good Time For Half Marathon Beginner?

What Is A Good Time For Half Marathon Beginner?

Based on the collection of data from thousands of runners, a good time for a half marathon beginner is 01:43:33 for a male and 02:00:12 for a female. This is based on the average finishing time across all age groups running the 13.1094 mile distance.

However, this doesn’t mean you should expect to run the above times for your first half marathon. Finishing times can vary greatly based on several factors. These include:

– Training
– Fitness
– Gender
– Terrain
– Course
– Wind
– Number of people

When it comes to finishing the event in the quickest possible time, male runners generally have the upper hand. The world record for men currently stands at 57:31, whereas the women’s world record stands at 1:02:52. This just shows how much faster a male is over the distance. It is also shown by the average finishing time between both genders (01:43:33 / 02:00:12).

Predicting Your Half-Marathon Time (calculator)

Luckily for many runners that haven’t raced the distance yet, there are ways to predict your half marathon finishing time.

this is done through a calculator that takes your best times over 3km, 5km, or 10km and then calculates what your finish time might be. One of the best half marathon calculators is from Sporttracks. As they produce one of the most accurate race prediction calculators online.

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However, it is important to know the results are an estimate. While they might be very accurate for some runners, for others the estimated time might be too fast or too slow. So, it is important to use these as a guide, rather than to follow the splits rigorously during an event.

For more experienced runners the calculator will be more accurate. However, for the beginner, you should rather be focusing on finishing the event than chasing a time. then once you have completed the event, you can then set goals of how fast you want to run.


A Word From SportCoaching

The half marathon distance is a great way to test your fitness heading into a marathon. Planning in an event around 4 weeks out from your goal marathon can help you prepare and fine-tune your pacing strategy. For the beginner, the distance is a great way to join thousands of other runners before stepping up to the marathon distance.

If you are not sure how to train for half distance, SportCoaching has a range of custom training plans available online as well as a personalized running coaching service. Alternatively, feel free to contact us if you are a beginner and need some guidance.

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