This analysis looked at 2,348,505 marathon results achieved during the 2009-2019 period.
- A new study has analysed 2,348,505 marathon results achieved during the 2009-2019 period to look at the differences in pace throughout the marathon between women and men.
- The data shows women are 18.33% better at keeping an even pace than men.
- Women ‘burn out’ less in the 2nd half of the marathon.
In a study conducted by Run Repeat, 2,348,505 results from six worldwide marathon races (Boston, Berlin, Chicago, London, New York, Paris) achieved from 2009 to 2019 were analysed to decipher whether women or men are better at pacing over the marathon distance.
Out of the 2,149,719 participants who revealed their sex, 1,376,441 (64.03%) were men and 773,278 (35.97%) were women.
Are women or men better at pacing?
The study found that women are 18.33% better at keeping an even pace than men. On average, for men, their pace increased by 14.07% during the second half of the marathon. For women, the average increase over the second half of the marathon was 11.47%.
For men, the average pace in the first half of the marathon was 9.12 minute miles, this slowed to 10.44 minute miles in the second half of the marathon.
For women, the average pace in the first half of the marathon was 10.44 minute miles, this slowed to 11.38 minute miles in the second half of the marathon.
Almost 92% of the runners surveyed ran the first half of the marathon faster than the second.
The study concluded, ‘Men had better average finish times, but women are better at pacing. This stands for both groups: those who ran the first half of the marathon faster and those who ran the second half faster.’
This supports findings from previous studies. Strava analysed the data from over 10,000 runners who completed the 2017 London Marathon. They compared the pace at which runners completed the first half of the marathon to the pace of the second half and found that, on average, women only slowed by 11%, whilst men slowed by 17%.
Where are the best female runners in the world?
According to the research, the top five countries with the best woman pacers are, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Norway.
The study found women who are best at keeping an even pace throughout the marathon have the smallest burnout % (the difference between the pace during the 1st and the 2nd half of the marathon).