How fast is a marathon run? Test yourself against Eliud Kipchoge's record

Tokyo and Rio men's champion is the only man to have run under two hours. His world record pace was less than 3 minutes per kilometer. The Olympic record time of 2 hours and 6 minutes means running 5km in 14 minutes 50 second EIGHT times in a row.

Picture by 2016 Getty Images

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya is the world's fastest marathon runner.

He confirmed that by storming to victory at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, defending a men's title he had won at Rio 2016.

The double Olympic champion set the official world record of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds in September 2018.

And he is the only man to have finished the 42km marathon under two hours, when he took part in a special challenge event aimed at creating history.

The marathon may look like a slow long run, but looking at the splits it means super-fast 5km runs.

The fastest ever marathon win at the Olympics was 2:06.32.

That was by another Kenyan, Samuel Wanjiru when he clinched gold in Beijing in 2008.

Ever wondered how fast these marathoners run? Read on for more.

Picture by 2008 Getty Images

World record pace in context

To run a fast marathon, you need to have the ideal conditions, the right pacing, physical and mental strength, and endurance.

When the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Kipchoge recorded a WR of 2:01:39 for the marathon in Berlin it went down to running each kilometre in 2 minutes 53 seconds.

The average finish for a recreational runner for the 5km is around 30 minutes. While chasing the record Kipchoge hit the 5km mark in 14 minutes 24 seconds.

He and the pacers crossed the 10km mark in 29 minutes and one second.

The average competitive time by advance runners is almost double Kipchoge’s competition running time, that is about 58 minutes.

Now imagine running the 5km in a blazing 14mins and 24 secs pace, eight and half times, to finish your race?

Breaking down the 2:06:32 Olympic men's marathon record

For a championship race like the Olympics, since there are no pacers, the race is often slightly slower.

Kipchoge's winning time in Sapporo was 2:08:38, a couple of minutes slower than the Olympic record of 2:06.32, that was set in equally hot and humid conditions.

The Olympic runners hit the 10km mark in around 30 minute.

To put this into perspective, the 30:00 is what an average city or park runner targets on a very good day for his 5km, yet elite marathoners take the same time to cover double the distance.

So, to do a marathon in the 2:06 pace a marathoner has to do his 5km runs in 14 minutes 50 second eight times in a row. Can you keep up?

Picture by 2020 Getty Images

How to watch the men's marathon at Tokyo 2020 in 2021

The men's Olympic marathon took place at Sapporo Odori Park, in the morning of Sunday, August 8, Japanese time.

You can watch replays of the event here on later on Sunday.

Find out where to watch all the action at the Tokyo Olympic Games live by clicking here.

For real-time updates on the sporting drama as it unfolds following our Tokyo 2020 live blog here.


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