Research Reveals Insights about Boston Marathon Runners: How do you Stack Up?

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Insights on Boston Marathon Runners and Where the Statistics Fall Research Reveals Insights about Boston Marathon Runners: How do you Stack Up?

It’s hard to believe that the Boston Marathon has been around since 1897. Starting out with a mere 15 runners, consisting of all males, it’s safe to say that this marathon – and the sport in general – flourished as the years went on. Today, there are around 30,000 participants in the Boston Marathon, and even more, expected to participate in the upcoming 2019 race.

In 1996, the Boston Marathon was recognized for being the world’s largest marathon with over 38,000 participants. Not only is Boston known for hosting one of the largest marathons, but it is also the world’s oldest and best-known. With this year marking the 123rd anniversary of the Boston Marathon, we dived deeper into our marathon research released early this year to pull out interesting findings about the Boston Marathon *recreational runners.

Out of the 784 marathons we studied between 2014-2017, the Boston Marathon was ranked as one of the most popular marathons to run worldwide.

While there are some Marathons in the US that attempt to rival the Boston Marathon, it also holds the title of fastest. Analyzing Boston’s more than 100,000 runners over the four years of the study, Boston was not only the most populous, but also had the fastest runtimes with an average finish time of 3:56:13. The Chicago Marathon came in second with an average finish time of 4:28:59, and New York ranked third with an average finish time of 4:36:50. Twenty-five percent of the world’s runners collectively make up participants in these three above mentioned marathons.

Looking over the four years, the top recreational runners in the Boston Marathon have held a pretty steady finishing time. In 2014, the fastest man in this category finished with a time of 2:30:15 and the fastest woman had a finishing time of 2:45:29. In 2015, the fastest man finished with a time of 2:30:03 and the fastest woman had a time of 2:45:31. In 2016, the fastest man had a time of 2:30:34 and the fastest woman finished with a time of 2:45:17. To finish out this 4-year span, the fastest man in 2017 had a time of 2:30:11 and the fastest woman finished out with a time of 2:45:39.

Taking a look into each gender for the Boston Marathon, the average finishing time for the men was 3:46:45 and 4:07:33 for the women, which puts Boston in the top five fastest marathons for each gender. The overall participation average for the men for all four years is 54.8% and the women is 45.2%, which shows that although there are still more male participants, the ladies are becoming more involved in marathons as the years go on.

The statistics also show that there are more US runners in this marathon than any other nationality with 85.2% for 2014, 82.2% in 2015, 81.3% in 2016, and 79.3% in 2017.

Age group 40-49 was the most popular age group for all four years for both men and women and age group 30-39 came in a close second for all four years for both men and women.

Out of the five largest marathons included in this study, Boston had the largest increase when it comes to performance over the years, with a time of five minutes and 20 seconds.

Don’t forget to check out our experts’ opinions on how to run the Boston Marathon.


Omitted Information

*Since this was a study based on recreational runners, we omitted any men with a finishing time of 2:30:00 or better and any women with a finishing time of 2:45:00 or better.

*Original research including methodology can be found here.



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