What is a good half-marathon time?

What is a good half marathon time?

Running a half marathon is a milestone for many runners, offering a challenging yet manageable distance. Whether you are a seasoned runner or preparing for your first 13.1-mile race, understanding what constitutes a good half marathon time can help set realistic goals and foster a sense of achievement. We have analysed data and delved into average half marathon times in the UK, pacing, records, and what you can aim for based on your experience level.

Average Half Marathon Times in the UK: Setting the Pace

As of 2024, the average finish time for a half marathon in the UK is approximately 2 hours and 2 minutes (2:02:43), equating to a pace of 9:22 minutes per mile or 5:49 per kilometre. This aggregate time includes runners of all abilities and ages, providing a broad benchmark against which to measure your performance.

For women, the average time is slightly higher at 2 hours, 11 minutes and 57 seconds (2:11:57), which means maintaining a pace of 10:04 minutes per mile or 6:16 per kilometre. Men, on the other hand, tend to cross the finish line a bit quicker with an average time of 1 hour, 55 minutes and 26 seconds (1:55:26), pacing at 8:49 minutes per mile or 5:29 per kilometre.

Pace Yourself: Understanding Average Half Marathon Pace

Knowing the average pace can help “target runners” gauge their training and race-day strategies. To finish within these average times, maintaining a consistent pace is crucial.

For a 2-hour finish, you’d aim for approximately 9:09 minutes per mile. It’s worth noting that the average mile time for women often falls into this bracket, indicating strong participation of female runners aiming for the 2-hour mark.

Setting Records: The Half Marathon World Record Holders

For elite athletes, the benchmarks are significantly higher.

The current world records for the half marathon are held by Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda for men with a time of 57:31, and Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia for women, clocking in at 1:02:52.

These times represent the pinnacle of performance in the sport, providing inspiration for runners worldwide.

Your First Half Marathon: Aim for Completion

“What is a good time for my first half marathon?” A question for those training for their first half marathon, completion is always the primary goal.

Average marathon time for a beginner can vary widely; however, setting a target of under 3 hours is a common starting point, aligning with a pace of around 13:44 minutes per mile. This allows for a manageable speed while accounting for the learning curve associated with pacing and endurance.

Intermediate Runners: Striving for Progress

Intermediate runners often look to improve upon their initial times. A good half marathon time for a more experienced runner might range from 1:50:00 to 2:10:00. This suggests a pace of around 8:23 minutes per mile for men and 09:55 minutes per mile for women, a notable advancement from the novice category.

Veteran Runners: Chasing Excellence

Veteran and club runners, or those with extensive experience and multiple half marathon medals in their drawer, might target even more ambitious times. Good half-marathon times for veteran runners are often well below the 1:45:00 mark, demanding a pace that pushes the limits of endurance and speed training.

Experience male runners will be looking at around the 1hr:15m mark, while female runners should aim for a time around the 1hr:30m time.

Training for Success: How Long Do You Need?

Training for a half marathon can vary based on your starting point.

For beginners, a 12 to 16-week training plan is often recommended, gradually increasing mileage and incorporating speedwork and long runs. Intermediate and veteran runners may adjust this timeline based on their conditioning and goals.

Age and Gender: The Variability of Good Times

It’s essential to recognize that “good” half-marathon times can vary significantly based on age and gender. Data indicates that the average half marathon time by age and gender fluctuates, with peak performance often seen in the 30-40 age range for both men and women.


A “good” half marathon time is subjective and individualized. It’s influenced by factors such as age, gender, experience, and training.

Whether you’re aiming to complete your first race or set a new personal best, understanding these benchmarks and how they align with your goals is the first step toward success.

Remember, each runner’s journey is unique, and crossing the finish line is an achievement worth celebrating.

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