Marathon run

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Media marathon 2005 in Munich, starting block B
Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland at an altitude of almost 2100 meters. (The highest point is reached at kilometer 41 at 2,205 m.)
Behind the scenes: clothes bag storage at the Hamburg Marathon 2006 during the race

The marathon (short marathon ) is a sporting running event held on streets or paths and at the same time the longest Olympic running discipline in athletics , the length of which was set at 42.195 kilometers in 1921. Some runs, especially at annual high points in athletics, lead to the finish line in the stadium, where there is about one more lap to run at the end.

At the Olympic Games , the marathon route has been run by men since 1896 - initially on 25 miles, i.e. around 40 kilometers - and by women since 1984 .


Origin of the modern marathon

The historian Herodotus reports on the Greek Hemerodromos ( messengers ) Pheidippides , who lived in 490 BC. BC ran from Athens to Sparta in two days to seek help in the war against the Persians (compare Spartathlon ). From this, 500 years later, Plutarch and Lucian , citing Herakleides Pontikos, formed the legend that after the victory of the Athenians in the Battle of Marathon, a runner set out on the almost 40-kilometer journey to Athens, where he, after proclaiming his message νενικήκαμεν ( transcribed: nenikékamen) "We have won" collapsed dead.

Nobody thought of this history during the first long-distance runs of the modern era . As a pleasure for the spectators and to satisfy their passion for betting, the first long-distance races were held in a kind of sporting competition in the late 18th century . In England and the United States , pedestrianists covered distances between 20 miles (32.18 km) and 30 miles (48.27 km). The distances were mostly run against the clock, the runners rarely competed against each other. The run led from milestone to milestone, which guaranteed reliable timing. Considerable times were achieved. In 1808 a man named Blewet ran 24 miles for 2:34 hours. Converted to the marathon distance valid today, this would be a time of 2:48 hours.

The legend about Pheidippides only came to mind again with the excavations at a historical site in Marathon, during which a hill with the graves of the fallen Athenians from the battle of Marathon was uncovered in 1890. The linguist Michel Bréal had the idea to revive the legendary run of Pheidippides as part of the Olympic Games in Athens planned for 1896 . He sent a letter to his friend, Baron Pierre de Coubertin , founder of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), of his idea. The winner should receive a trophy donated by him. The Athens Olympic Marathon in 1896 became the first organized marathon.

One month before the Olympic Games, however, a marathon as the Greece championship took place on the route from the village of Marathon to Athens (approx. 40 kilometers) with eleven runners. Two weeks later, another marathon was held as a test for the Olympic Games with 38 runners, in which the winner Ioannis Lavrentis achieved a time of 3:11:27 h and the later Olympic marathon winner , Spyridon Louis , came fifth in 3:18:27 h has been. At another date, two women, whose names were given with Melpomene and Stamathis Rovithi, are said to have already successfully run the marathon-Athens route.

Major Papadiamanopoulos was entrusted in the preparatory committee to organize the long-distance run. Papadiamanopoulos' former errand boy was Spyridon Louis, who finally won the first Olympic marathon in 1896 in a time of 2:58:50 h. The marathon has only been an Olympic discipline for women since 1984.

The first German marathon was a "40 km distance run" on September 5, 1897. The route ran from Paunsdorf (now a district of Leipzig ) to Bennewitz and back to Paunsdorf. Of the 26 registered runners, 18 started and 13 crossed the finish line. The winner was Theodor Schöffler from VfB Leipzig in 3:35:31 hours. On July 3, 1898, another "40 km distance race" took place on the same route. All 13 runners reached the finish line, Arthur Techtow from BFV Arminia-Urania zu Berlin was first in 3:19:50 with a lead of almost 15 minutes. For a long time this run was thought to be the first marathon to be held in Germany; It was not until 1998, on the occasion of the supposed 100th anniversary of the Leipzig marathon, that people became aware of the run that was held the previous year.

Development of the running distance

Olympic games
year Route length
kilometre miles
1896 40 24.85
1900 40.26 25.02
1904 40 24.85
1906 41.86 26.01
1908 42.195 26.22
1912 40.2 24.98
1920 42.75 26.56
since 1924 42.195 26.22

In the official bulletin of the Olympic Games in 1896, the running distance from Marathon to Athens was advertised as exactly 40 kilometers. Today’s knowledge indicates that this probably does not correspond to the distance traveled by the legendary messenger. While the runner from the legend would have taken the shortest route over the Pentelikon Mountains and covered a maximum of 34 kilometers, the runners at the Olympic Games took the road along the sea and around the mountains.

For the following Olympic Games, it was not important to the IOC to link the marathon to a certain distance, as the runners competed against each other in direct combat. The length of the first Olympic marathon run in 1896 served as a guideline, but it was left to the organizers to adjust the distance to local conditions.

At the Olympic Games in London in 1908 , the distance according to a survey report was exactly 26 miles 385 yards , which corresponds to the equivalent of 42.195 km. There are many explanations for how this distance came about. The measurement log provides information. The starting point for the survey was the newly built Olympic Stadium in the London district of Shepherd's Bush . The start should take place at Windsor Castle . After measuring 25 miles (40.23 km), the traditional marathon distance, you were still 1 mile from Windsor Castle. At the end of the day, 26 miles had been measured on the east terrace of Windsor Castle. But the section from the stadium measuring point to the royal box was still missing, so another 385 yards had to be added to the distance. For this reason, Anglo-Saxon marathon runners are said to still let out a God Save the Queen on the last kilometer .

The dramatic outcome in the 1908 Olympic marathon between Dorando Pietri and John Hayes , in which Pietri was finally pushed across the finish line by officials after several falls shortly before the finish and therefore disqualified, was used after the games to do a number of in the United States Organize fights for revenge between the two. Of course, the conditions should be the same, so that the distance was always set at 42.195 km. In addition to Pietri, who took part in 8 marathons in 1909, more and more runners took part in the competitions, who soon marched through the country and finally the world like a traveling circus. Most of the races were held in an indoor arena such as Madison Square Garden , where 262 laps had to be completed.

Despite the now almost mandatory distance of 42.195 kilometers in the many professional competitions, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not consider it necessary to increase the distance for the marathon at the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912 and also in the 1920 Olympic Games in To fix Antwerp to a certain length of the route. It was not until 1921 that the International Athletics Association ( IAAF ) set the distance of 42.195 kilometers as the official distance for a marathon.

Most successful athlete



Medal winners at international highlights:



Marathon as a top sport

Participant medal in the 1997 New York Marathon

Some organizers of the world's largest and most prestigious marathons annually advertise the World Marathon Majors series for elite runners . Such a series lasts for one year (until 2015: two years). The races in Tokyo , Boston , London , Berlin , Chicago and New York as well as the marathon at the World Athletics Championships and / or the marathon at the Olympic Games are included in the evaluation . The best five men and women receive points according to a simple system. The prize money of 1.1 million US dollars will be divided among the most successful athletes after the last run (as of 2017). Since 2016 there has been a parallel competition for a wheelchair marathon with a separate prize money of 100,000 dollars.

Further major events take place annually in Honolulu , Los Angeles , Paris , Seoul , Beijing , Vienna and Hamburg .

IAAF rules

The IAAF regulates all long-distance races that are held on the road in a common standard. Rule 240 for marathons is summarized as follows:

  • The race track must lead over asphalt or concrete roads (English "made-up road"). If necessary, a cycle or footpath along the road is used. Segments of grass or unpaved roads are allowed but must be kept to a minimum. The route must be closed to motorized traffic.
  • The distance is measured along the shortest possible path (i.e. inside of the curve). The examiners approved by the IAAF measure the route with a bicycle and a bicycle computer . Because of the required tolerance of at least one per mille , a marathon route is always slightly longer than 42,195 km.
  • Refreshments:
    • At the start, at the finish and approximately every five kilometers, the organizer must provide water and other refreshments. The athletes are allowed to use their own drinks etc. if they indicate in advance at which refreshment stations they will be stored. The acceptance of refreshments at other locations is permitted if there are medical reasons.
    • Refreshment stations must not be on the shortest path. Those who hand over refreshments as a helper are not allowed to walk, run or drive during this time.
    • Water and other refreshments may be carried by the athlete if he has been wearing them since the start or if he has picked them up at an official refreshment station. An athlete may hand over his or her refreshments to another runner at any time. Constant support of other runners is prohibited.
  • Runners are allowed to leave the course under supervision if the running distance is not shortened.

Further rules 143 and 144:

  • Running shoes must be widely available. Models that are only accessible to certain athletes are prohibited. According to a decision by the IAAF, shoes with a sole more than 40 mm thick or with more than one solid, embedded plate will be prohibited from April 30, 2020. At the same time it was decided that only shoes that have been publicly sold for at least four months are permitted.
  • Pacemakers must participate in the race from the start. Once they have been lapped, they may no longer serve as a pacemaker. Technical devices that act as pacemakers are prohibited.
  • Electronic devices (such as cell phones or MP3 players ) are prohibited.
  • Devices that display heart rate, stride length, pace and / or similar data are permitted if they are worn by the runner and do not transmit any data to other people.

Additional rules apply to the recognition of world records. The straight line distance between start and finish must not exceed 50% of the running distance in order to compensate for the influence of favorable wind conditions. Likewise, the average gradient from start to finish must not exceed one per thousand of the running distance. The fact that the IAAF has only been registering marathon world records since 2004 is largely due to the fact that a globally applicable regulation for measuring race tracks was adopted very late.

Marathon as a popular sport

Starting in the 1970s (with campaigns such as “Trimm Dich!” And “Running without puffing” by the DSB ) and then in the course of the general fitness trend, running and, at the same time, marathons have established themselves as popular sports.

In 1979 the number of German marathon runners was estimated at 10,000 and there were around 50 marathons in Germany. In 2005, 153 marathon events were offered in Germany and the hard core of marathon runners is estimated by the German Athletics Association to be around 100,000 active participants. That’s less than one percent of all runners.

In 2004 there were 73 marathons in Europe with more than 1000 participants per run, 20 of them in Germany. In the previous years there were 65 (in 2003) and 60 (in 2002) with 18 races each in Germany.

Biggest events in German-speaking countries

event Finisher
Berlin marathon 40,000
Hamburg marathon 10,000
Frankfurt marathon 10,000
Munich marathon 05,000
Cologne marathon 05,000
event Finisher
Vienna City Marathon 06,800
Marathon in the border triangle (Bregenz) 01,200
Graz marathon 01,000
event Finisher year
Jungfrau Marathon 03,800 2011
Zurich marathon 03,000 2019
Geneva marathon 01,800 2017
Swiss City Marathon (Lucerne) 02,700 2007
Lausanne marathon 01,200 2019

Runs worldwide with more than 30,000 finishers

The following runs have had more than 30,000 finishers at least once in their history:

Run Finisher record Finisher (latest edition)
year Finisher year Finisher
New York City Marathon 2019 53,517 2019 53,517
Paris marathon 2019 48,029 2019 48,029
Chicago marathon 2019 45,956 2019 45,956
London marathon 2019 42,485 2019 42,485
Berlin marathon 2019 44,065 2019 44,065
Boston marathon 1996 35,868 2019 26,632
Tokyo marathon 2019 35,460 2019 35,460

Coordination of training and competition


As with all other running routes, training has changed over the decades. While the Pedestrians ran 200 km a day, if necessary, in the 19th century, training became shorter and faster after the First World War. Interval training moved in with Woldemar Gerschler and Herbert Reindell ( Emil Zátopek ran 50 × 400 m with a 200 m break from trot), before Arthur Lydiard and Ernst van Aaken began modern training. Many coaches today believe that the most important element in marathon training, in addition to running long distances slowly, is interval training to develop endurance. For example, recreational runners try to achieve a maximum individual distance of 30 km and a weekly workload of 60 km during training. The relatively slow runners are often advised, for orthopedic reasons, to end the long endurance run after about three hours and to only increase the length of the route as they become more efficient. Advanced marathon runners also run longer distances and more kilometers per week. In the top range, 200 km and more are not uncommon. In addition to the long, slow runs, interval training also plays a decisive role in many training plans of successful trainers , but with a very small proportion of the total mileage of the training (5% to 10%).

A training plan covers a period of five or six months, with the planned route lengths gradually increasing every two weeks. The often propagated 10 to 12 week plans are only the build-up for training work that has already been done. A runner should have run regularly for at least a year, preferably two years, before attempting a marathon. Competitive experience on short distances, which are usually between 5000 m and 25 km, more rarely 30 km, is desirable and recommended. During marathon training, it is important to give the body enough time to recover. Running with a cold or fever can lead to serious illnesses (such as myocarditis ).

Race preparations

During the last two or three weeks before a marathon run, the runners usually reduce their weekly workload (typically up to 50 to 75% of the maximum distance) and sometimes take a complete break in the leisure area for at least two days so that the body can relax before the tough stress of the marathon can recover again. This training phase is also referred to by the English term “ tapering ” (“reduction”). Many marathon runners also consume more carbohydrates in the week before the marathon (so-called “ carboloading ”) so that the body can absorb more glycogen . The pasta parties offered by many organizers on the day before the marathon serve the same purpose , at which the participants are mainly offered dishes rich in carbohydrates.

Right before the race, many runners refrain from eating solid food to avoid digestive problems. Furthermore, care is taken to drink enough and the toilet is used again. Light stretching exercises before the race will help loosen up the muscles. In order to avoid cooling down before the start in the case of large starting fields and especially in the cold season, many marathon runners use cut-open garbage bags as clothing ("ponchos"), which they remove shortly before the start.

During the race

Water distribution at the marathon

Trainers recommend keeping the pace as steady as possible during a marathon. But there are also recommendations to divide the route into phases. It begins with an initial phase in which a pace is maintained that is below the target average speed. This is followed by a middle section in which the target average speed is maintained. In the end part the speed is increased again. This also corresponds to the generally valid recommendation to approach a marathon slowly. Paul Tergat even managed to finish the second half a minute faster than the first in his world best time in 2003 during the Berlin Marathon.

Isotonic drinks are often offered along the way. Too much pure water can lead to salt loss and can be health-threatening if you sweat heavily ( hyperhydration ). That is why water is usually also offered at the supply points, which is mixed with table salt in isotonic concentration. If the outside temperature is not too high, it is possible to run a run without drinking breaks. Carbohydrate gels are a good source of energy, but they should be diluted with water when consumed, otherwise they can cause nausea and vomiting. The amount and type of drinks and carbohydrates that can be absorbed by the body during the run depends very much on the running speed. The faster the run is completed, the less blood flows through the digestive tract. The body can then hardly absorb carbohydrates or water. These become stressful and easily lead to nausea and vomiting.

Typically, there is a maximum permissible time after which the route is usually closed by the sweeper car . Depending on the target group and the type of event, the maximum time is five hours and thirty minutes or significantly more. The route remains open for much longer, especially in the large and important public marathons in the big cities. When you set a time goal, it's easier to keep a steady pace. Here it is beneficial for beginners to take a speed table (and watch) with them on the route.

Health aspects

Muscle pain after the run is normal. This pain, which is often mistakenly perceived as " sore muscles " but can be associated with it (running involves short, eccentric muscle contractions ), can last for up to a week. A complete recovery from the marathon, however, takes a much longer time. Depending on the course of the race, external conditions and training status, coaches expect at least two weeks up to two months until complete physical and psychological regeneration , which is important for rebuilding for a new race. For these reasons, successful athletes rarely run more than two marathons a year.

As with almost all sports that are also practiced as popular sports, the health benefits of marathon training outweigh any risks during the competition by far. One problem, however, is the steadily increasing average age of runners at large events such as the New York City Marathon . Despite impressive performance, older marathon runners have problems with the musculoskeletal system both in the training phase and in competition Age group but also the general risk of heart disease. The risk of sudden cardiac death during a marathon is negligible and lies between 5: 1,000,000 and 8: 1,000,000 participants. Nevertheless, the German Sports Medical Association recommends that beginners and those returning to the sport, especially if they have previous illnesses, complaints or risk factors, have a health check carried out. Other acute health problems that can occur while running are electrolyte imbalances (particularly hyponatremia ) and heat stroke . The increased risk of skin cancer in marathon runners is a warning to consistent sun protection. Annoying complaints are sore nipples (jogger's nipple) , athlete's foot and blistering caused by friction on an item of clothing .

Marathon and long-distance runners often experience an increase in the body's own substances in the blood, which are usually associated with structural damage to the heart (e.g. cardiac troponin ) or the brain ( S-100beta ). In many cases, these increases do not reflect real damage to the heart or brain, but rather a release from the skeletal muscles. In fact, there was no association between elevated damage markers and cardiac function in healthy marathon runners. One study found echocardiographic changes in cardiac function in untrained marathon runners; the results of this study are controversial. Furthermore, bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract is described in medical circles. The cause of this bleeding is considered to be jarring while running, as well as taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) before and during the run to prevent muscular and skeletal pain. These NSAIDs ( ibuprofen , acetylsalicylic acid , ...) affect blood clotting by influencing the platelet function. Many runners do not seem to be aware of this danger. In medical literature, surveys are quoted that suggest an increasing trend in revenue.

Wheelchair users, hand bikes and inline skates

At many city marathons and at the Paralympic Games , in addition to the normal running discipline, competitions for racing wheelchair users have been offered since the 1970s and, since the 2000s, also for handbike riders . While these disciplines enable paraplegic athletes to take part in the marathon competition, a race for inline skaters is also offered as a further discipline at some events .


Olympic Games medalist


year gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
1896 First Hellenic RepublicFirst Hellenic Republic Spyridon Louis First Hellenic RepublicFirst Hellenic Republic Charilaos Vasilakos Hungary 1867Hungary Gyula waiter
1900 LuxembourgLuxembourg Michel Théato FranceFrance Émile Champion SwedenSweden Ernst Fast
1904 United States 45United States Thomas Hicks FranceFrance Albert Corey United States 45United States Arthur Newton
1906 Canada 1868Canada Billy Sherring SwedenSweden John Svanberg United States 45United States William Frank
1908 United States 46United States John Hayes South Africa 1910South African Union Charles Hefferon United States 46United States Joseph Forshaw
1912 South Africa 1910South African Union Ken McArthur South Africa 1910South African Union Christopher Gitsham United States 48United States Gaston Strobino
1920 FinlandFinland Hannes Kolehmainen EstoniaEstonia Jüri Lossmann Italy 1861Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946) Valerio Arri
1924 FinlandFinland Albin Stenroos Italy 1861Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946) Romeo Bertini United States 48United States Clarence DeMar
1928 FranceFrance Boughera El-Ouafi ChileChile Manuel Plaza FinlandFinland Martti Marttelin
1932 ArgentinaArgentina Juan Carlos Zabala United KingdomUnited Kingdom Sam Ferris FinlandFinland Armas Toivonen
1936 JapanJapan Son Kitei United KingdomUnited Kingdom Ernie Harper JapanJapan Nan Shōryū
1948 ArgentinaArgentina Delfo Cabrera United KingdomUnited Kingdom Tom Richards BelgiumBelgium Étienne Gailly
1952 CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakia Emil Zatopek ArgentinaArgentina Reinaldo Gorno SwedenSweden Gustaf Jansson
1956 FranceFrance Alain Mimoun Yugoslavia Socialist Federal RepublicYugoslavia Franjo Mihalic FinlandFinland Veikko Karvonen
1960 Ethiopia 1941Ethiopia Abebe Bikila MoroccoMorocco Rhadi Ben Abdesselam New ZealandNew Zealand Barry Magee
1964 Ethiopia 1941Ethiopia Abebe Bikila United KingdomUnited Kingdom Basil Heatley JapanJapan Kōkichi Tsuburaya
1968 Ethiopia 1941Ethiopia Mamo Wolde JapanJapan Kenji Kimihara New ZealandNew Zealand Mike Ryan
1972 United StatesUnited States Frank Shorter BelgiumBelgium Karel Lismont Ethiopia 1941Ethiopia Mamo Wolde
1976 Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR Waldemar Cierpinski United StatesUnited States Frank Shorter BelgiumBelgium Karel Lismont
1980 Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR Waldemar Cierpinski NetherlandsNetherlands Gerard Nijboer Soviet Union 1955Soviet Union Satymkul Jumanasarov
1984 PortugalPortugal Carlos Lopes IrelandIreland John Treacy United KingdomUnited Kingdom Charlie Spedding
1988 ItalyItaly Gelindo Bordin KenyaKenya Douglas Wakiihuri DjiboutiDjibouti Ahmed Salah
1992 Korea SouthSouth Korea Hwang Young-cho JapanJapan Kōichi Morishita GermanyGermany Stephan Freilang
1996 South AfricaSouth Africa Josiah Thugwane Korea SouthSouth Korea Lee Bong-ju KenyaKenya Erick Wainaina
2000 Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Denied Abera KenyaKenya Erick Wainaina Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Tesfaye Tola
2004 ItalyItaly Stefano Baldini United StatesUnited States Meb Keflezighi BrazilBrazil Vanderlei de Lima
2008 KenyaKenya Samuel Kamau Wanjiru MoroccoMorocco Jaouad Gharib Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Tsegay Kebede
2012 UgandaUganda Stephen Kiprotich KenyaKenya Abel Kirui KenyaKenya Wilson Kipsang
2016 KenyaKenya Eliud Kipchoge EthiopiaEthiopia Feyisa Lilesa United StatesUnited States Galen Rupp


year gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
1984 United StatesUnited States Joan Benoit NorwayNorway Grete Waitz PortugalPortugal Pink Mota
1988 PortugalPortugal Pink Mota AustraliaAustralia Lisa Martin Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR Katrin Dörre
1992 United teamUnited team Valentina Egorova JapanJapan Yūko Arimori New ZealandNew Zealand Lorraine Moller
1996 Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Fatuma Roba RussiaRussia Valentina Egorova JapanJapan Yūko Arimori
2000 JapanJapan Naoko Takahashi RomaniaRomania Lidia Șimon KenyaKenya Joyce Chepchumba
2004 JapanJapan Mizuki Noguchi KenyaKenya Catherine Ndereba United StatesUnited States Deena Kastor
2008 RomaniaRomania Constantina Tomescu KenyaKenya Catherine Ndereba China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Zhou Chunxiu
2012 EthiopiaEthiopia Tiki Gelana KenyaKenya Priscah Jeptoo RussiaRussia Tatiana Petrova
2016 KenyaKenya Jemima Jelagat Sumgong BahrainBahrain Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa EthiopiaEthiopia Mare Dibaba

Medalist of the World Athletics Championships


year gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
1983 AustraliaAustralia Robert de Castella Ethiopia 1975Ethiopia Kebede Balcha Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR Waldemar Cierpinski
1987 KenyaKenya Douglas Wakiihuri DjiboutiDjibouti Ahmed Salah ItalyItaly Gelindo Bordin
1991 JapanJapan Hiromi Taniguchi DjiboutiDjibouti Ahmed Salah United StatesUnited States Steve Spence
1993 United StatesUnited States Mark Plaatjes NamibiaNamibia Luketz Swartbooi NetherlandsNetherlands Bert van Vlaanderen
1995 SpainSpain Martín Fiz MexicoMexico Dionicio Cerón BrazilBrazil Luíz Antônio dos Santos
1997 SpainSpain Abel Antón SpainSpain Martín Fiz AustraliaAustralia Steve Moneghetti
1999 SpainSpain Abel Antón ItalyItaly Vincenzo Modica JapanJapan Nobuyuki Satō
2001 Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Denied Abera KenyaKenya Simon Biwott ItalyItaly Stefano Baldini
2003 MoroccoMorocco Jaouad Gharib SpainSpain Julio Rey ItalyItaly Stefano Baldini
2005 MoroccoMorocco Jaouad Gharib TanzaniaTanzania Christopher Isengwe JapanJapan Tsuyoshi Ogata
2007 KenyaKenya Luke Kibet Bowen QatarQatar Mubarak Hassan Shami SwitzerlandSwitzerland Viktor Röthlin
2009 KenyaKenya Abel Kirui KenyaKenya Emmanuel Mutai Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Tsegay Kebede
2011 KenyaKenya Abel Kirui KenyaKenya Vincent Kipruto EthiopiaEthiopia Feyisa Lilesa
2013 UgandaUganda Stephen Kiprotich EthiopiaEthiopia Lelisa Desisa EthiopiaEthiopia Tadese Tola
2015 EritreaEritrea Ghirmay Ghebreslassie EthiopiaEthiopia Yemane Tsegay UgandaUganda Munyo Solomon Mutai
2017 KenyaKenya Geoffrey Kirui EthiopiaEthiopia Tamirat Tola TanzaniaTanzania Alphonce Simbu
2019 EthiopiaEthiopia Lelisa Desisa EthiopiaEthiopia Mosinet Geremew KenyaKenya Amos Kipruto


year gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
1983 NorwayNorway Grete Waitz United StatesUnited States Marianne Dickerson Soviet UnionSoviet Union Raisa Katyukova-Smechnova
1987 PortugalPortugal Pink Mota Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soy Ivanova FranceFrance Jocelyne Villeton
1991 PolandPoland Wanda Panfil JapanJapan Sachiko Yamashita GermanyGermany Katrin Dörre
1993 JapanJapan Junko Asari PortugalPortugal Maria Manuela Machado JapanJapan Tomoe Abe
1995 PortugalPortugal Maria Manuela Machado RomaniaRomania Anuța Cătună ItalyItaly Ornella Ferrara
1997 JapanJapan Hiromi Suzuki PortugalPortugal Maria Manuela Machado RomaniaRomania Lidia Șimon
1999 Korea NorthNorth Korea Jong Song-ok JapanJapan Ari Ichihashi RomaniaRomania Lidia Șimon
2001 RomaniaRomania Lidia Șimon JapanJapan Reiko Tosa RussiaRussia Svetlana Sakharova
2003 KenyaKenya Catherine Ndereba JapanJapan Mizuki Noguchi JapanJapan Masako Chiba
2005 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Paula Radcliffe KenyaKenya Catherine Ndereba RomaniaRomania Constantina Tomescu
2007 KenyaKenya Catherine Ndereba China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Zhou Chunxiu JapanJapan Reiko Tosa
2009 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Bai Xue JapanJapan Yoshimi Ozaki Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Aselefech Mergia
2011 KenyaKenya Edna Kiplagat KenyaKenya Priscah Jeptoo KenyaKenya Sharon Jemutai Cherop
2013 KenyaKenya Edna Kiplagat ItalyItaly Valeria Straneo JapanJapan Kayoko Fukushi
2015 EthiopiaEthiopia Mare Dibaba KenyaKenya Helah Kiprop BahrainBahrain Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa
2017 BahrainBahrain Rose Chelimo KenyaKenya Edna Kiplagat United StatesUnited States Amy Cragg
2019 KenyaKenya Ruth Chepngetich BahrainBahrain Rose Chelimo NamibiaNamibia Helalia Johannes

See also

Development of world best times and world records

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), as the umbrella organization of all national athletics federations for athletics, maintains the lists of all official world records in athletics . In road races such as the marathon, world record lists have only been kept since January 1, 2004, after special criteria for its recognition had been set at the 44th IAAF Congress in 2003. This was necessary because certain running routes favored fast times due to natural conditions. The most important rules of the IAAF state:

  • If the start and finish are separated, the distance between the two points measured on a theoretical direct connection line should not be more than 50% of the route distance (IAAF rule 260.28.b). In a marathon this would be 21 km. The rule is intended to prevent running in one direction, which could have been beneficial through wind support (tail wind) and through sections of the route with a slight gradient.
  • Between start and finish, the height should not decrease by more than 0.1% (1 m per km) of the route distance (IAAF rule 260.28.c). In a marathon this would be 42 m. The rule is intended to prevent the route as a whole from being downhill, which could possibly have increased the running speed.

The first official world record was run by Paul Tergat back in 2003 and received retroactive recognition from the IAAF, as the congress with the decisions on the world record criteria was held one month before Tergat's run.

In the time before regulation by the IAAF, the fastest running times were described as world best or world best time. There were different lists for these times. The most important lists were published by the IAAF and the Association of Road Running Statisticians (ARRS). With the exception of the time run by Khalid Khannouchi in the London Marathon in 2002, none of these times have and had no official character.

Development of the marathon world best time or world record according to the following table

It is noticeable that the times published by the IAAF and the ARRS as world bests were partly achieved in runs whose running distances no longer correspond to the IAAF regulations for today's recognition as the best or record. In contrast, the IAAF and ARRS have temporarily not included the best times achieved on regular routes in their lists for reasons that are no longer comprehensible.

The world best times and world records published by IAAF and ARRS are shown below in a uniform list with different labeling.

only best performances and records managed by the IAAF
only best performances and records managed by the ARRS
Best performances and records jointly managed by IAAF and ARRS


Unofficial world records
Time (h) Surname date place Remarks
2: 55: 18.4 United States 46United States John Hayes 07/24/1908 London First run over 42.195 km at the IV Olympic Games in 1908 . First at the finish line, Dorando Pietri in 2:54:46, disqualified for using outside help.
2: 52: 45.4 United States 46United States Robert Fowler 01/01/1909 Yonkers Yonkers Marathon , canceled after seven runners at the finish due to undisciplined spectators. Route length unclear.
2: 46: 52.8 United States 46United States James Clark 02/12/1909 new York Brooklyn- Sea Gate Marathon, turning point route to Coney Island and back
2: 46: 04.6 United States 46United States Albert Raines 05/08/1909 new York Bronx marathon
2: 42: 31.0 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Henry Barrett 05/26/1909 London Polytechnic marathon , on the route of the 1908 Olympic Games
2: 40: 34.2 SwedenSweden Thure Johansson 08/31/1909 Stockholm Idrottsparken Velodrome Marathon, 368 m long laps in a bike stadium.
2: 38: 16.2 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Harry Green 05/12/1913 London Meanwhile, on a 50 mile (80 km) run at Stamford Bridge Stadium .
2: 36: 06.6 SwedenSweden Alexis Ahlgren 05/31/1913 London Polytechnic marathon , on the route of the 1908 Summer Olympics
2: 32: 35.8 FinlandFinland Hannes Kolehmainen 08/22/1920 Antwerp Run at the VII Olympic Games in 1920 , length officially 42.75 km, according to an estimate actually 40 km.
2: 29: 01.8 United States 48United States Albert Michelsen 10/12/1925 Port Chester Port Chester Marathon
2: 27: 49.0 JapanJapan Fusashige Suzuki March 31, 1935 Tokyo Turning point route in the Shinjuku district with start / finish in Jingū Stadium. The course was hand-measured especially for record runs.
2: 26: 44.0 JapanJapan Yasuo Ikenaka 04/03/1935 Tokyo The best was achieved just three days after the Suzuki run on the same track.
2: 26: 42.0 JapanJapan Son Kitei 03/11/1935 Tokyo The best performance was achieved on the same track where Suzuki and Ikenaka had previously recorded their times.
2:29:20 JapanJapan Son Kitei 08/09/1936 Berlin Run at the XI. Olympic Games 1936
2:25:39 Korea SouthSouth Korea Suh Yun-bok 04/19/1947 Boston Boston Marathon , point-to-point distance does not comply with IAAF rule 260.28.b. According to ARRS route length 41.1 km.
2:25:15 Korea SouthSouth Korea Choi Yun-chil 10/28/1951 Pusan According to ARRS route length 41.834 km. Deletion from the ARRS list announced.
2: 20: 42.2 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Jim Peters 06/14/1952 London Polytechnic marathon , point-to-point route from Windsor to Chiswick does not conform to IAAF rule 260.28.b. Route length 42.337 km.
2: 18: 40.4 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Jim Peters 06/13/1953 London Polytechnic marathon , point-to-point distance from Windsor to Chiswick does not comply with IAAF rule 260.28.b
2: 18: 34.8 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Jim Peters 04.10.1953 Turku Turku Marathon , double turning point route and an additional 14 laps in the stadium
2: 17: 39.4 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Jim Peters 06/26/1954 London Polytechnic marathon , point-to-point distance from Windsor to Chiswick does not comply with IAAF rule 260.28.b
2: 18: 04.8 FinlandFinland Paavo Kotila 08/12/1956 Pieksämäki Run at the 16th Finnish National Marathon Championships
2: 15: 17.0 Soviet Union 1955Soviet Union Sergei Popov 08/24/1958 Stockholm Run at the VI. European Athletics Championships
2: 15: 16.2 Ethiopia 1941Ethiopia Abebe Bikila 09/10/1960 Rome Run at the XVII. 1960 Olympic Games
2: 15: 15.8 JapanJapan Tōru Terasawa 02/17/1963 Beppu Beppu-Ōita marathon
2:14:28 United StatesUnited States Buddy nobles 06/15/1963 London Polytechnic marathon , point-to-point distance from Windsor to Chiswick does not comply with IAAF rule 260.28.b
2:13:55 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Basil Heatley 06/13/1964 London Polytechnic marathon , point-to-point distance from Windsor to Chiswick does not comply with IAAF rule 260.28.b
2:14:43 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Brian Kilby 07/06/1964 Port Talbot Run at the Welsh Open Marathon Championships
2: 12: 11.2 Ethiopia 1941Ethiopia Abebe Bikila 10/21/1964 Tokyo Run at the XVIII. 1964 Olympic Games
2:12:00 JapanJapan Morio Shigematsu 06/12/1965 London Polytechnic marathon , point-to-point distance from Windsor to Chiswick does not comply with IAAF rule 260.28.b
2: 09: 36.4 AustraliaAustralia Derek Clayton December 3rd, 1967 Fukuoka Fukuoka marathon
2: 08: 33.6 AustraliaAustralia Derek Clayton 05/30/1969 Antwerp Antwerp marathon , two-lap route. According to ARRS route length 41.7 km.
2: 09: 28.8 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Ron Hill 07/23/1970 Edinburgh Run at the British Commonwealth Games 1970
2:09:12 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Ian Thompson 01/31/1974 Christchurch Run at the 1974 British Commonwealth Games
2: 09: 05.6 JapanJapan Shigeru So 02/05/1978 Beppu Beppu-Ōita marathon
2:09:01 NetherlandsNetherlands Gerard Nijboer 04/26/1980 Amsterdam Amsterdam marathon
2:08:18 AustraliaAustralia Robert de Castella December 6, 1981 Fukuoka Fukuoka marathon
2:08:05 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Steve Jones 10/21/1984 Chicago Chicago marathon
2:07:12 PortugalPortugal Carlos Lopes April 20, 1985 Rotterdam Rotterdam marathon
2:06:50 Ethiopia People's Democratic RepublicEthiopia Belayneh Dinsamo 04/17/1988 Rotterdam Rotterdam marathon
2:06:05 BrazilBrazil Ronaldo da Costa 09/20/1998 Berlin Berlin marathon
2:05:42 MoroccoMorocco Khalid Khannouchi 10/24/1999 Chicago Chicago marathon
2:03:02 KenyaKenya Geoffrey Kiprono Mutai 04/18/2011 Boston The running course of the Boston Marathon has a gradient of 136.29 meters and is therefore not suitable for record recognition by the IAAF .
2:00:25 KenyaKenya Eliud Kipchoge 05/06/2017 Monza On the racetrack in Monza for “Breaking2”. World record is not officially recognized by the IAAF, the world athletics association, because the pacemakers have been changed regularly.
1:59:40 KenyaKenya Eliud Kipchoge October 12, 2019 Vienna “INEOS 1:59 Challenge” in Vienna. World record is not officially recognized by the IAAF, the world athletics association, because the pacemakers have been changed regularly.
Official world record times
Time (h) Surname date place Remarks
2:05:38 United StatesUnited States Khalid Khannouchi 04/14/2002 London London Marathon , first officially recognized world record
Official world records
Time (h) Surname date place Remarks
2:04:55 KenyaKenya Paul Tergat 09/28/2003 Berlin Berlin Marathon , first officially recognized world record
2:04:26 Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Haile Gebrselassie 09/30/2007 Berlin Berlin marathon
2:03:59 Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia Haile Gebrselassie 09/28/2008 Berlin Berlin marathon
2:03:38 KenyaKenya Patrick Makau 09/25/2011 Berlin Berlin marathon
2:03:23 KenyaKenya Wilson Kipsang 09/29/2013 Berlin Berlin marathon
2:02:57 KenyaKenya Dennis Kimetto 09/28/2014 Berlin Berlin marathon
2:01:39 KenyaKenya Eliud Kipchoge 16.09.2018 Berlin Berlin Marathon
( pace : 2:53 min / km)


Unofficial world records
Time (h) Surname date place Remarks
3:40:22 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Violet Piercy 10/03/1926 London This run is generally considered to be a woman's first official timekeeping in a marathon, but due to inconsistencies in historical facts, there are doubts about its credibility.
3:37:07 United StatesUnited States Merry Lepper December 16, 1963 Culver City Western Hemisphere Marathon , Lepper took part in secret because of the starting ban for women, but remained undetected. After ARRS route too short.
3:27:45 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Dale Greig 05/23/1964 Ryde Isle of Wight marathon, the first generally undisputed world record for a woman. Despite the starting ban for women, Greig was allowed to participate, but she had to start 5 minutes before the field and was constantly accompanied by paramedics.
3:19:33 New ZealandNew Zealand Mildred Sampson 07/21/1964 Auckland There are contradictions in the historical facts with regard to the date (also August 16, 1964) and event.
3: 15: 22.8 CanadaCanada Maureen Wilton 05/06/1967 Toronto Canadian Eastern Championships, officially approved participation of the only 13-year-old Wilton, who completed her first marathon here.
3: 07: 26.2 Germany BRBR Germany Anni Pede-Erdkamp 16.09.1967 Waldniel The marathon organized by Ernst van Aaken was supposed to prove that the long-distance run is also suitable for women, despite the general starting ban for women. Pede-Erdkamp had to start 30 meters behind the field and took third place in the overall result.
3:02:53 United StatesUnited States Caroline Walker 02/28/1970 Seaside Trail's End Marathon. For Walker, who was only 16 years old, it was the first and only marathon run, and she only found out about her world record days later.
3:01:42 United StatesUnited States Beth Bonner 05/09/1971 Philadelphia AAU Eastern Regional Championships (regional championships of the American Amateur Sports Association), the championships were not advertised for women, but the only 18-year-old Bonn was allowed to participate unofficially.
2:55:22 United StatesUnited States Beth Bonner 09/19/1971 New York City New York City Marathon . 20 days earlier, the Australian Adrienne Beames ran 2:46:30 in her home country, a time under 3 hours, which was not recognized by any association due to considerable doubts.
2:49:40 United StatesUnited States Cheryl Bridges December 05, 1971 Culver City Western Hemisphere Marathon , officially open to women in its second year.
2:46:37 United StatesUnited States Miki Gorman 12/02/1973 Culver City Western Hemisphere Marathon , Gorman ran her first official marathon at the age of 38.
2:46:24 FranceFrance Chantal Langlacé October 27, 1974 Neuf-Brisach Neuf-Brisach Marathon
2: 43: 54.5 United StatesUnited States Jacqueline Hansen December 01, 1974 Culver City Western Hemisphere Marathon
2:42:42 Germany BRBR Germany Liana Winter 04/21/1975 Boston Boston Marathon point-to-point distance does not conform to IAAF rule 260.28.b.
2: 40: 15.8 Germany BRBR Germany Christa Vahlensieck 05/03/1975 Dülmen Dülmen Marathon , Vahlensieck was 35 minutes ahead of the next runner.
2:38:19 United StatesUnited States Jacqueline Hansen 10/12/1975 Eugene Oregon Track Club Marathon
2: 35: 15.4 FranceFrance Chantal Langlacé 05/01/1977 Oiartzun open Spanish marathon championships
2: 34: 47.5 Germany BRBR Germany Christa Vahlensieck 09/10/1977 Berlin German marathon championships, held parallel to the Berlin marathon .
2:32:30 NorwayNorway Grete Waitz 10/22/1978 New York City 1978 New York City Marathon , distance according to ARRS 42.044 km.
2:27:33 NorwayNorway Grete Waitz 10/21/1979 New York City New York City Marathon 1979 , according to ARRS distance 42.044 km.
2:31:23 United StatesUnited States Joan Benoit 02/03/1980 Auckland Choysa International Marathon, time is held as the event record for the Auckland Marathon to the present day .
2:30:58 United StatesUnited States Patti Catalano 09/06/1980 Montreal Run the elite the day before the official Montreal Marathon .
2:25:42 NorwayNorway Grete Waitz 10/26/1980 New York City New York City Marathon , according to ARRS, route length 42.044 km.
2:30:27 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Joyce Smith 11/16/1980 Tokyo Tokyo International Women's Marathon
2:29:57 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Joyce Smith 03/29/1981 London London Marathon 1981
2:29:02 Germany BRBR Germany Charlotte Teske 01/16/1982 Miami Miami Orange Bowl Marathon
2:26:12 United StatesUnited States Joan Benoit 09/12/1982 Eugene Oregon Track Club Marathon
2:25:28 NorwayNorway Grete Waitz 04/17/1983 London 1983 London Marathon
2:22:43 United StatesUnited States Joan Benoit 04/18/1983 Boston Boston Marathon point-to-point distance does not conform to IAAF rule 260.28.b.
2:24:26 NorwayNorway Ingrid Kristiansen 05/13/1984 London 1984 London Marathon
2:21:06 NorwayNorway Ingrid Kristiansen April 21, 1985 London 1985 London Marathon
2:20:47 KenyaKenya Tegla Loroupe 04/19/1998 Rotterdam Rotterdam marathon
2:20:43 KenyaKenya Tegla Loroupe 09/26/1999 Berlin Berlin Marathon 1999
2:19:46 JapanJapan Naoko Takahashi 09/30/2001 Berlin Berlin Marathon 2001
2:18:47 KenyaKenya Catherine Ndereba 07/10/2001 Chicago Chicago Marathon 2001
Official world records
Time (h) Surname date place Remarks
2:17:18 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Paula Radcliffe 10/13/2002 Chicago Chicago Marathon 2002 , first officially recognized world record
2:15:25 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Paula Radcliffe 04/13/2003 London London marathon
2:14:04 KenyaKenya Brigid Kosgei October 13, 2019 Chicago Chicago Marathon 2019

World best list


All runners with best times of 2:04:53 h and faster. Last change: 21 . March 2020

  1. 2:01:39 h Eliud Kipchoge , Berlin , September 16, 2018KenyaKenya 
  2. 2:01:41 h Kenenisa Bekele , Berlin , September 29, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  3. 2:02:48 h Birhanu Legese , Berlin , September 29, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  4. 2:02:55 h Mosinet Geremew , London , April 28, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  5. 2:02:57 h Dennis Kipruto Kimetto , Berlin , September 28, 2014KenyaKenya 
  6. 2:03:13 h Emmanuel Kipchirchir Mutai , Berlin , September 28, 2014KenyaKenya 
  7. 2:03:13 h Wilson Kipsang , Berlin , September 25, 2016KenyaKenya 
  8. 2:03:16 h Mule Wasihun , London , April 28, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  9. 2:03:34 h Done Molla , Dubai , January 25, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  10. 2:03:36 h Sisay Lemma , Berlin , September 29, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  11. 2:03:38 h Patrick Makau Musyoki , Berlin , September 25, 2011KenyaKenya 
  12. 2:03:40 h Herpasa Negasa , Dubai , January 25, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  13. 2:03:46 h Guye Adola Idemo , Berlin , September 24, 2017EthiopiaEthiopia 
  14. 2:03:51 am Stanley Kipleting Biwott , London , April 24, 2016KenyaKenya 
  15. 2:03:51 h Kinde Atanaw , Valencia , December 1st, 2019KenyaKenya 
  16. 2:03:59 h Haile Gebrselassie , Berlin , September 28, 2008Ethiopia 1996Ethiopia 
  17. 2:04:02 h Leule Gebrselassie , Dubai , January 26, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  18. 2:04:06 h Tamirat Tola , Dubai , January 26, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  19. 2:04:06 h Asefa Mengstu , Dubai , January 26, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  20. 2:04:06 h Lawrence Cherono , Amsterdam , October 21, 2018KenyaKenya 
  21. 2:04:11 h Marius Kipserem , Rotterdam , April 7, 2019KenyaKenya 
  22. 2:04:15 h Geoffrey Kiprono Mutai , Berlin , September 30, 2012KenyaKenya 
  23. 2:04:16 h Kaan Kigen Özbilen , Valencia , December 1, 2019TurkeyTurkey 
  24. 2:04:23 h Ayele Abshero , Dubai , January 27, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  25. 2:04:24 h Tesfaye Abera , Dubai , January 22, 2016EthiopiaEthiopia 
  26. 2:04:27 h Duncan Kibet Kirong , Rotterdam , April 5, 2009KenyaKenya 
  27. 2:04:27 h James Kipsang Kwambai , Rotterdam , April 5, 2009KenyaKenya 
  28. 2:04:28 h Sammy Kirop Kitwara , Chicago , October 12, 2014KenyaKenya 
  29. 2:04:32 h Tsegaye Mekonnen , Dubai , January 24, 2014EthiopiaEthiopia 
  30. 2:04:32 h Dickson Kiptolo Chumba , Chicago , October 12, 2014KenyaKenya 
  31. 2:04:33 h Lemi Berhanu , Dubai , January 22, 2016EthiopiaEthiopia 
  32. 2:04:38 h Tsegay Kebede , Chicago , October 7, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  33. 2:04:40 h Solomon Deksisa , Amsterdam , October 21, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  34. 2:04:40 h Reuben Kiprop Kipyego , Abu Dhabi , December 6, 2019KenyaKenya 
  35. 2:04:43 h El Hassan el-Abbassi , Valencia , December 2, 2018BahrainBahrain 
  36. 2:04:44 h Seifu Tura , Dubai , January 26, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  37. 2:04:45 h Lelisa Desisa , Dubai , January 25, 2013EthiopiaEthiopia 
  38. 2:04:46 h Titus Ekiru , Milan , April 7, 2019KenyaKenya 
  39. 2:04:48 h Yemane Tsegay , Rotterdam , April 15, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  40. 2:04:48 h Berhanu Shiferaw Tolcha , Dubai , January 25, 2013EthiopiaEthiopia 
  41. 2:04:49 h Tadese Tola , Dubai , January 25, 2013EthiopiaEthiopia 
  42. 2:04:49 h Tola Shura Kitata , London , April 22nd 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  43. 2:04:49 h Bashir Abdi , Tokyo , March 1st, 2020BelgiumBelgium 
  44. 2:04:50 h Dino Sefir , Dubai , January 27, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  45. 2:04:50 h Getu Feleke , Rotterdam , April 15, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  46. 2:04:51 h Abebe Negewo Degefa , Valencia , December 1st, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  47. 2:04:52 h Feyisa Lilesa , Chicago , October 7, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  48. 2:04:52 h Endeshaw Negesse Shumi , Dubai , January 25, 2013EthiopiaEthiopia 
  49. 2:04:53 h Bernard Kiprop Koech , Dubai , January 25, 2013KenyaKenya 
  50. 2:04:53 h Mathew Kipkoech Kisorio , Valencia , December 2nd, 2018KenyaKenya 
Fastest times on a track that did not conform to the record

According to the IAAF record recognition rules , a marathon may have a maximum gradient of 42 meters. Furthermore, the start and finish must not be more than 21.1 km apart. The running course of the Boston Marathon has a gradient of 136.29 meters and is therefore not suitable for record recognition by the IAAF .

  1. 2:03:02 h Geoffrey Kiprono Mutai , Boston , April 18, 2011KenyaKenya 
  2. 2:03:06 h Moses Cheruiyot Mosop , Boston , April 18, 2011KenyaKenya 
  3. 2:04:53 h Gebregziabher Gebremariam , Boston , April 18, 2011EthiopiaEthiopia 
  4. 2:04:58 am Ryan Hall , Boston , April 18, 2011United StatesUnited States 
"Breaking2" project

On May 6, 2017, Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya), Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) and Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) tried to beat the 2-hour mark in the marathon for the first time at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy. The project sponsored by Nike was unsuccessful. Kipchoge reached the goal in 2:00:25 h. The IAAF did not recognize the time achieved as an official world record, as essential points of the regulations were not observed: 18 pacemakers in 6 groups were repeatedly exchanged. According to regulations, the pacemaker must run from the start, and lapped pacemakers must run alone. Food from vehicles is also not allowed, so that a best time is recognized as a world record.

INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna

In a second attempt with Eliud Kipchoge , sponsored by INEOS , on October 12, 2019 in Vienna , the marathon distance was run in 1:59:41. Due to various reasons, some of which have already been mentioned above (changing pacemakers, non-public event), the time is again not recognized as a marathon world record. The start was on the Reichsbrücke, which created a gradient of 24 meters. In the straight Praterhauptallee 4.4 laps were run with a total of only 12 m gradient; a pure downhill stretch with an average gradient of 1 m per kilometer would have been allowed for an official record. Using a computer simulation, sports scientists calculated 0.11% additional energy expenditure or approx. 4.5 seconds extra running time - balancing the effort required for cornering when changing direction against profit by running downhill - compared to a completely straight and level route. A temperature of 7-14 ° C with less than 80% humidity was aimed for .

The organizer partly re-paved the running track, the turning curves at the ends of the straights were inclined inwards like on a cycling track , and again a team of pacemakers ensured an ideal pace. A car also drove ahead, showing the time and projecting lines onto the ground as an aid. Eliud Kipchoge was accompanied by 35 pacemakers - groups of seven each that were changed five times.


All runners with best times of 2:20:53 hours and faster. Last change: 21 . March 2020

  1. 2:14:04 h Brigid Kosgei , Chicago , October 13, 2019KenyaKenya 
  2. 2:15:25 h Paula Radcliffe , London , April 13, 2003United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
  3. 2:17:01 am Mary Keitany , London , April 23, 2017KenyaKenya 
  4. 2:17:08 h Ruth Chepngetich , Dubai , January 25, 2019KenyaKenya 
  5. 2:17:41 h Worknesh Degefa , Dubai , January 25, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  6. 2:17:45 h Lonah Chemtai Salpeter , Tokyo , March 1, 2020IsraelIsrael 
  7. 2:17:56 p.m. Tirunesh Dibaba , London , April 23, 2017EthiopiaEthiopia 
  8. 2:18:11 h Gladys Cherono , Berlin , September 16, 2018KenyaKenya 
  9. 2:18:30 h Roza Dereje , Valencia , December 1, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  10. 2:18:31 h Vivian Cheruiyot , London , April 22, 2018KenyaKenya 
  11. 2:18:33 h Azmera Abreha , Valencia , December 1st, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  12. 2:18:34 h Ruti Aga , Berlin , September 16, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  13. 2:18:35 h Birhane Dibaba , Tokyo , March 1st, 2020EthiopiaEthiopia 
  14. 2:18:47 h Catherine Ndereba , Chicago , October 7, 2001KenyaKenya 
  15. 2:18:58 h Tiki Gelana , Rotterdam , April 15, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  16. 2:19:12 h Mizuki Noguchi , Berlin , September 25, 2005JapanJapan 
  17. 2:19:19 h Irina Mikitenko , Berlin , September 28, 2008 ( German record )GermanyGermany 
  18. 2:19:28 h Zeineba Yimer , Valencia , December 1, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  19. 2:19:30 h Feyse Tadese , Dubai , January 26th 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  20. 2:19:31 h Aselefech Mergia , Dubai , January 27, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  21. 2:19:34 h Lucy Wangui , Dubai , January 27, 2012KenyaKenya 
  22. 2:19:36 h Deena Kastor , London , April 23, 2006United StatesUnited States 
  23. 2:19:36 h Yebrgual Melese , Dubai , January 26, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  24. 2:19:39 h Sun Yingjie , Beijing , October 19, 2003China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China 
  25. 2:19:41 h Yōko Shibui , Berlin , September 26, 2004JapanJapan 
  26. 2:19:41 h Tirfi Tsegaye , Dubai , January 22, 2016EthiopiaEthiopia 
  27. 2:19:44 h Florence Jebet Kiplagat , Berlin , September 25, 2011KenyaKenya 
  28. 2:19:46 h Naoko Takahashi , Berlin , September 30, 2001JapanJapan 
  29. 2:19:47 h Sarah Chepchirchir , Tokyo , February 26, 2017KenyaKenya 
  30. 2:19:50 pm Edna Kiplagat , London , April 22, 2012KenyaKenya 
  31. 2:19:51 p.m. Zhou Chunxiu , Seoul , March 12, 2006China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China 
  32. 2:19:52 p.m. Mare Dibaba , Dubai , January 27, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  33. 2:19:57 pm Rita Jeptoo , Chicago , October 19, 2013KenyaKenya 
  34. 2:20:13 pm Haftamnesh Tesfaye , Dubai , January 26, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  35. 2:20:14 pm Priscah Jeptoo , London , April 22, 2012KenyaKenya 
  36. 2:20:14 h Ashete Bekere , Berlin , September 29, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  37. 2:20:24 h Worknesh Edesa , Valencia , December 1st, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  38. 2:20:30 h Bezunesh Bekele , Dubai , January 27, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  39. 2:20:30 p.m. Aberu Kebede , Berlin , September 30, 2012EthiopiaEthiopia 
  40. 2:20:30 pm Sutume Asefa Kebede , Tokyo , March 1st, 2020EthiopiaEthiopia 
  41. 2:20:39 h Purity Cherotich Rionoripo , Valencia , December 1st, 2019KenyaKenya 
  42. 2:20:42 h Berhane Adere , Chicago , October 22, 2006EthiopiaEthiopia 
  43. 2:20:43 h Tegla Loroupe , Berlin , September 26, 1999KenyaKenya 
  44. 2:20:45 h Gelete Burka , Dubai , January 26th 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  45. 2:20:46 h Meskerem Assefa , Frankfurt am Main , October 28, 2018EthiopiaEthiopia 
  46. 2:20:47 h Galina Bogomolowa , Chicago , October 22, 2006RussiaRussia 
  47. 2:20:48 h Jemima Jelagat Sumgong , Chicago , October 13, 2013KenyaKenya 
  48. 2:20:48 am Amane Beriso , Dubai , January 22, 2016EthiopiaEthiopia 
  49. 2:20:51 a.m. Ababel Yeshaneh , Chicago , October 13, 2019EthiopiaEthiopia 
  50. 2:20:53 h Valery Aiyabei , Berlin , September 24th 2017KenyaKenya 
Fastest times on a track that did not conform to the record

According to the IAAF record recognition rules , a marathon may have a maximum gradient of 42 meters. Furthermore, the start and finish must not be more than 21.1 km apart. The running course of the Boston Marathon has a gradient of 136.29 meters and is therefore not suitable for record recognition by the IAAF .

  1. 2:18:57 pm Rita Jeptoo , Boston , April 21, 2014KenyaKenya 
  2. 2:19:59 p.m. Bizunesh Deba , Boston , April 21, 2014EthiopiaEthiopia 
  3. 2:20:41 am Jemima Jelagat Sumgong , Boston , April 21, 2014KenyaKenya 
  4. 2:20:43 h Margaret Okayo , Boston , April 15, 2002KenyaKenya 

Marathon as part of combining sports

In the long-distance triathlon , 3.86 kilometers of swimming and 180 kilometers of cycling are followed by a marathon. A duathlon can also include runs over the marathon distance. A few ultramarathon runs have a running distance that is an integral multiple of the marathon distance.

Superlatives and important key data

  • In several countries "100 Marathon Clubs" have been founded, which only accept runners who have completed at least 100 marathons as full members, such as the 100 MC UK & Ireland, Japan, Germany, Finland, Norway, the Czech Republic, Australia, the Netherlands, North America , Slovakia, (South) Korea, Bosnia and Austria (in chronological order of their establishment). Ireland has meanwhile founded its own 100MC, so it is no longer represented by the British 100MC. The youngest member worldwide is Markus Korölus (Freiburg / Elbe), who already met this entry criterion at the age of 20.
  • At the end of 2019, 35 people were known to have run more than 1000 marathons in their lives. The statistics are led by Christian Hottas (Hamburg) with 2845 marathons and ultramarathons for men and by Sigrid Eichner (Berlin) with 2222 marathons and ultramarathons for women (as of December 31, 2019). Christian Hottas replaced Horst Preisler from Hamburg as world number one on August 3, 2011 and was the first person to run his 2000th marathon at the TUI Marathon Hanover on May 5, 2013, with more than 80 running friends from eleven nations accompanying him as "Escort 2000", including eight board members of the 100 marathon clubs UK, North America, Denmark, Germany, Austria (represented by Anton Reiter) and Italy. On December 4, 2016, he ran his 2500th marathon in Hanover in a marathon specially organized for this anniversary. On July 19, 2020, he finished his 2900th marathon in Borstel (Schleswig-Holstein). Horst Preisler, who had topped the world rankings since 1995, is now only ranked 6th in the world with 1806 marathons and ultras.
  • In Austria (as of January 31, 2020) Gerhard Wally is at the top with 673 marathons, followed by Anton Reiter (412) and Ernst Fink (258). Reiter is also the annual Austrian marathon collector with 54 marathons and an ultra marathon from 2013.
  • For the "2500. Birthday “of the marathon, an anniversary run took place on October 31, 2010 on the classic route Marathon – Athens.
  • On November 4, 2016, a marathon with international participation took place in Bamiyan up to 3000 meters above sea level at the turning point, in which female athletes - around 100 out of 250 participants - were represented for the first time in Afghanistan.
  • The then highest mountain marathon in Europe took place on July 25th, 2015 as a new variant S42 - Davos-Dischma-Sertig-Davos circuit at the 30th Swissalpine Marathon Davos .
  • Elevation gain: see mountain marathon

Cultural perspective

motion pictures

Numerous feature films feature main characters who are marathon runners, including:


See also


Web links

Commons : marathon run  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: marathon  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. according to AIMS
  2. ^ Frank Gottert: Marathon City Leipzig. The marathons in Leipzig 1897-2018 . Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2019, ISBN 978-3-96023-232-2 , pp. 16-19 .
  3. ^ Frank Gottert: Marathon City Leipzig. The marathons in Leipzig 1897-2018 . Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2019, ISBN 978-3-96023-232-2 , pp. 20-23 .
  4. About the Abbott World Marathon Majors. (PDF; 78 KB) In: 2017, accessed on July 7, 2018 .
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