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Half Marathon Times: What's Good, What's Average, and What Can I Expect For My First?

Amanda Wendorff

In this article, you will find answers to the following questions:

  • What's the average half marathon time?
  • What's a good half marathon time for a beginner?
  • What are good half marathon times by age or gender?
  • What's the world record marathon time?
  • What's a fast half marathon time for elite runners?
  • How can you improve your half marathon time?
MOTTIV app user Matteo Laratta is thrilled to be heading towards the finish line of his race.

What is the Average Finish Time in the Half Marathon?

It isn't easy to determine a precise average time it takes to run a half marathon among all runners and walkers that complete the distance worldwide. However, because this popular race distance is completed by millions of runners every year, we can look at an overview of race results and times across hundreds of half marathons to make some conclusions.

According to Running Level, the average half marathon finishing time for an athlete running (as opposed to walking) a half marathon across all ages and genders is 1 hour, 50 minutes, and 15 seconds.

Average Time to Run a Half Marathon By Age and Gender

If you'd like to get even more specific about the average half-marathon time ranges by looking at the typical half marathon paces for various cohorts, such as age and gender, you can use our handy calculator, available at:

Just enter your gender and age, and you'll see the average time for your demographic and the benchmark times we'd expect for beginner and elite runners.

Average Women's Half Marathon Times By Age

By using this calculator, we can determine the average half marathon time for women, as divided into age groups. Here are a couple of examples:

  • For a 40-year-old woman, the average half marathon finish time is 2 hours, 4 minutes, 11 seconds, which equates to a running pace of:
    • 9 minutes, 28 seconds per mile, or
    • 5 minutes, 53 seconds per kilometer
  • An average half marathon time for a 65-year-old woman is 2 hours, 45 minutes, 13 seconds, which equates to a running pace of:
    • 12 minutes, 36 seconds per mile, or
    • 7 minutes, 50seconds per kilometer

Average Half Marathon Times for Men

Similarly, using the calculator above, we can determine, based on age, how long the average man takes to run a half marathon.

  • The average men's half marathon time for those who are 30 years old is 1 hour, 43 minutes, 43 seconds, which equates to a running pace of:
  • 7 minutes, 54 seconds per mile, or
    • 4 minutes, 55 seconds per kilometer
  • For men who are 70 years old, the average half marathon time is 2 hours, 20 minutes 35 seconds, which equates to a running pace of:
    • 10 minutes, 43 seconds per mile, or
    • 6 minutes, 40 seconds per kilometer

For both men and women, keep in mind that this calculator simply gives a hypothetical average runner. It looks at data for all finishers of many half marathons and takes the average result, regardless of running level. Your actual race time will depend on many variables, including your distance running experience, fitness level, training program, genetics, weather, course profile, and even gear selection. If you're running slower times than the calculator shows, do not despair—these are very simplified numbers.

MOTTIV app user Dena McPhedron finishes the half-marathon portion of her 70.3 distance triathlon in Edmonton, Canada.

What's a Good Half Marathon Time For a Beginner?

While we've determined the average half marathon run times for various groups of runners, it's important to remember that those averages include the race times of many experienced half marathon runners. But what about a beginner runner? What would be a good first half marathon result?

Here at MOTTIV, we believe that with the proper training and no significant physical limitations, a very good half marathon goal time for a beginner runner would be under 2 hours and 10 minutes. To break that 2:10 barrier, your goal race paces would be:

  • Faster than 9 minutes, 55 seconds per mile running pace OR
  • Faster than 6 minutes, 10 seconds per kilometer

Now, if you're a beginning runner but have experience in other endurance sports or sports that involve a lot of running, like soccer, we'd set the goals a bit higher. For an experienced athlete starting with half marathons, assuming you completed a well-designed training plan, a good first half marathon time would be at or around two hours*.* If you are hoping to break two hours in the half marathon, your average pace per mile would need to be:

  • Faster than 9 minutes, 10 seconds per mile OR
  • Faster than 5 minutes, 42 seconds per kilometer

We base these goal times on the assumption that you'll run at least three times a week following a well-designed training program over several weeks or even months and are starting from a good place of fitness. If you'd like to know how long it takes to train, check out this calculator, which tells you the number of weeks you should plan to devote to a half marathon training plan based on your background and goals:

Remember as well that these are very general suggestions as to what a good half marathon time might be. A good time for a half for you might vary from these numbers quite a bit, depending on your age, how much you've run in the recent past, the course you select, the weather, and much more.

How Fast Elite Runners Can Run a Half Marathon

Having learned the average times for a half marathon race among all runners and good time goals for beginner runners, let's turn our attention to the fastest half marathon runners out there: the record holders.

Half Marathon World Record Times

Elite times for the half marathon are mind-boggling -- the fastest professional runners out there can cover 13.1 miles in around one hour!

If you want to get a sense of exactly how fast the fastest runners are, here are the current men's and women's records for the half marathon.

  • The current men's half marathon world record, set by Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda on November 21, 2021, is 57 minutes, 31 seconds. He set this record in Lisbon, Portugal, at the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon.
  • The women's half marathon world record holder is Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who ran a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, and 52 seconds. The record was set in Valencia, Spain, at the Valencia Half Marathon on October 24, 2021,

Half Marathon Run Times for Local Elites

Local elite runners, like the ones you're likely to see breaking the tape at your community race, may complete a half marathon race in a finish time of 65 to 75 minutes (or even faster) for men or 75 to 85 minutes for women. Professionals will be even faster.

How to Improve Your Half Marathon Time

Many beginner runners enjoy the process of training for and finishing their first half marathon so much that they soon decide to enter more races with the hope of improving their finish time with a new personal best. Although for many new runners, a faster pace will come from simply running more miles, there are some ways you can structure your training to maximize its benefit and improve your running speed.

If you're looking for tips to run faster on race day, consider incorporating these things into your exercise routine:

  • Long, low-intensity runs. The foundation of the training for any endurance running event is plenty of easy running, including a weekly low-intensity long run. Long, slow distance has numerous physiological benefits, including teaching the body to become more metabolically efficient, increasing the mitochondrial density in the cells, and improving the durability of the muscles.
  • Speed runs. To improve running speed, you should also include some interval and tempo runs. Interval runs typically include multiple repeats of shorter distances at faster speeds, with periods of walking or very easy running in between. For example, an interval workout may be six repeats of 400-meter runs at your 10k pace, with short recoveries of 200 meters of walking or jogging. Tempo runs, which are great for half marathoners, are longer intervals at a slower average pace than interval runs. An example would be 25 minutes completed at your half marathon goal pace.
  • Proper training zones. To effectively incorporate speed runs, long, slow runs, and other workouts in your half marathon plan, you need to know how fast or hard to run. You can do this by creating training zones based on your heart rate and then using those zones to guide the intensity of your training. You can read our suggested method for creating individualized heart rate zones.
  • Strength training. In addition to your running, basic strength training is crucial for preparing the body for the physical exertion of training for and racing a half marathon and preventing injury.

The best way to ensure you incorporate all of these important features is to find a reliable half marathon training program. A good training program will include all of these sessions, lay them out logically to maximize their benefits, and progressively increase the training load and mileage to reduce the risk of injury and keep you healthy. You can find excellent half marathon training programs in the MOTTIV training app.

For more tips on improving your half-marathon time, read the article How to Improve Your Half Marathon.


Having a good goal for your half marathon is a great way to motivate yourself through your training and preparation. This article has shown you the following:

  • The average half marathon run times for the overall population, as well as the average times we may expect for an individual, taking into account age, gender, and athletic background
  • Just how fast the world's best runners can cover the half marathon distance
  • Some tips to improve your half marathon run time

Now that you've got a good sense of some reasonable goals, it's time to get running!Once you've started training for a half marathon (13.1 miles, or 21 kilometers) running race, it's natural to start thinking about your goal finish time. A helpful way to begin setting a goal is to look at average half marathon times for runners whose background and experience match your own.

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Amanda Wendorff

| Author

Amanda Wendorff is a professional triathlete, focusing on the 70.3 and 140.6 Ironman distances. In the last several years she’s competed in multiple gravel bike races. Top Achievements: Top 3 Ironman Ireland and Ironman 70.3 Coquimbo, Multiple time top-5 finisher, 3rd Overall at Moran 166 Gravel Race in Michigan, Age group podium at Gravel Worlds, Big Sugar, and Ned Gravel in first year of gravel racing.

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