Marathon world record progression

Source From Wikipedia English.

This list is a chronological progression of record times for the marathon. World records in the marathon are ratified by World Athletics, the international governing body for the sport of athletics.

Kelvin Kiptum at the Chicago marathon 2023
Kelvin Kiptum during his world record run at the 2023 Chicago marathon with 2:00:35
Tigst Assefa during her women's world record run at the 2023 Berlin Marathon with 2:11:53
Mary Keitany during her women-only world record run at the 2017 London Marathon with 2:17:01

Kenyan athlete Kelvin Kiptum set a men's world record time of 2:00:35 on October 8, 2023, at the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

Ethiopian athlete Tigst Assefa broke the women's world record for a mixed-gender race with a time of 2:11:53 on September 24, 2023, at the 2023 Berlin Marathon. In addition to the standard women's marathon world record, World Athletics also recognizes a second world record for women in the "Women Only" category, meaning that the marathon was run on a course without any male athletes in competition. The current "Women Only" record of 2:17:01 was set by Mary Keitany on April 23, 2017, at the London Marathon in the elite women's race.

Criteria for record eligibility

For a performance to be ratified as a world record by World Athletics, the marathon course on which the performance occurred must be 42.195 km (26.219 mi) long, measured in a defined manner using the calibrated bicycle method (the distance in kilometers being the official distance, the distance in miles is an approximation) and meet other criteria that rule out artificially fast times produced on courses aided by downhill slope or tailwind. The criteria include:

  • "The start and finish points of a course, measured along a theoretical straight line between them, shall not be further apart than 50% of the race distance."
  • "The decrease in elevation between the start and finish shall not exceed an average of one in a thousand, i.e. 1m per km."

In recognizing Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai's mark of 2:03:02 at the 2011 Boston Marathon as (at the time) "the fastest Marathon ever run", the IAAF said: "Due to the elevation drop and point-to-point measurements of the Boston course, performances [on that course] are not eligible for World record consideration."

Road racing events like the marathon were specifically excepted from World Athletics rule 260 18(d) that rejected from consideration those track and field performances set in mixed competition.

The Association of Road Racing Statisticians, an independent organization that compiles data from road running events, also maintains an alternate marathon world best progression but with standards they consider to be more stringent.

Women's world record

The IAAF Congress at 2011 World Championships in Athletics passed a motion changing the record eligibility criteria effective October 6, 2007, so that women's world records must be set in all-women competitions. The result of the change was that Radcliffe's 2:17:42 performance at the 2005 London Marathon would supplant her own existing women's mark as the "world record"; the earlier performance was to be referred to as a "world best".

The decision was met with strong protest in Britain: in November 2011, an IAAF council member announced that Radcliffe's original mark would be allowed to stand, with the eventual decision that both marks would be recognized as world records: the faster one as a "Mixed Gender" mark, with the other as a "Women Only" mark.

Per the 2021 IAAF Competition Rules, "a World Record for performance achieved in mixed gender ("Mixed") races and a World Record for performance achieved in single gender ("Women only") races" are tracked separately.

Unofficial record attempts

In December 2016, Nike, Inc., announced that three top distance runners — Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese and Lelisa Desisa — had agreed to forgo the spring marathon season to work with the company in an effort to run a sub-two-hour marathon, though a detailed plan to complete the marathon in 1:59:59 or faster was not released.

The Breaking2 event took place in the early morning of May 6, 2017; Kipchoge crossed the finish line with a time of 2:00:25. This time was more than two minutes faster than the world record. Among other factors, specialized pacers were used, entering the race midway to help Kipchoge maintain his pace.

Kipchoge took part in a similar attempt to break the two-hour barrier in Vienna on October 12, 2019, as part of the Ineos 1:59 Challenge. He successfully ran the first sub two-hour marathon distance, with a time of 1:59:40.2. The effort did not count as a new world record under IAAF rules due to the setup of the challenge. Specifically, it was not an open event, Kipchoge was handed fluids by his support team throughout, the run featured a pace car, and included rotating teams of other runners pacing Kipchoge in a formation designed to reduce wind resistance and maximize efficiency. The achievement was recognized by Guinness World Records with the titles 'Fastest marathon distance (male)' and 'First marathon distance run under two hours'.

History

Marathon races were first held in 1896, but the distance was not standardized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF, now World Athletics) until 1921.

The actual distance for pre-1921 races frequently varied slightly from the 1921 standard of 42.195 km (26 miles 385 yards). In qualifying races for the 1896 Summer Olympics, Greek runners Charilaos Vasilakos (3:18:00) and Ioannis Lavrentis (3:11:27) won the first two modern marathons. On April 10, 1896, Spiridon Louis of Greece won the first Olympic marathon in Athens, Greece, in a time of 2:58:50; however, the distance for the event was 40,000 meters. Three months later, British runner Len Hurst won the inaugural Paris to Conflans Marathon (also around 40 km) in a time of 2:31:30. In 1900, Hurst would better his time on the same course with a 2:26:28 performance.

Later, Shizo Kanakuri of Japan was reported to have set a world record of 2:32:45 in a November 1911 domestic qualification race for the 1912 Summer Olympics, but this performance was also run over a distance of approximately 40 km.

The first marathon over the official distance was won by American Johnny Hayes at the 1908 Summer Olympics, with a time of 2:55:18.4.

It is possible that Stamata Revithi, who ran the 1896 Olympic course a day after Louis, is the first woman to run the modern marathon; she is said to have finished in 5+12 hours. World Athletics credits Violet Piercy's 1926 performance as the first woman to race the standard marathon distance; however, other sources report that the 1918 performance of Marie-Louise Ledru in the Tour de Paris set the initial mark for women. Other "unofficial" performances have also been reported to be world bests or world records over time: although her performance is not recognized by World Athletics, Adrienne Beames from Australia is frequently credited as the first woman to break the three-hour barrier in the marathon.

In the 1953 Boston Marathon, the top three male finishers were thought to have broken the standing world record, but Keizo Yamada's mark of 2:18:51 is considered to have been set on a short course of 25.54 miles (41.1 km). The Boston Athletic Association also does not report Yamada's performance as a world best for this reason.

On October 25, 1981, American Alberto Salazar and New Zealander Allison Roe set apparent world bests at the New York City Marathon (2:08:13 and 2:25:29), however, these marks were invalidated when the course was later found to have been 151 meters short. Although World Athletics' progression notes three performances set on the same course in 1978, 1979, and 1980 by Norwegian Grete Waitz, the Association of Road Racing Statisticians considers the New York City course suspect for those performances, too.

On April 18, 2011, the Boston Marathon produced what were at that time the two fastest marathon performances of all time. Winner Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya recorded a time of 2:03:02, followed by countryman Moses Mosop in 2:03:06. However, since the Boston course does not meet the criteria for record attempts, these times were not ratified by the IAAF.

Eight IAAF world records were set at the Polytechnic Marathon (1909, 1913, 1952–54, 1963–65). WA-recognized world records have been broken at all of the original five World Marathon Majors on numerous occasions (updated 09/2022); twelve times at the Berlin Marathon, three times at the Boston Marathon, five times at the Chicago Marathon, six times at the London Marathon, and five times at the New York City Marathon. However, the records established in the Boston event have been disputed on grounds of a downhill point-to-point course, while four of the five New York records have been disputed on grounds of a short course.

Men

Table key:
  Listed by World Athletics as a world best prior to official acceptance
  Ratified by World Athletics as a world best (since January 1, 2003) or world record (since January 1, 2004)
  Recognized by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS)

The edition of the marathon is linked on some of the dates.

Time Name Nationality Date Event/Place Source Notes
2:55:18.4 Johnny Hayes   United States July 24, 1908 London Olympics, England IAAF Time was officially recorded as 2:55:18 2/5. Italian Dorando Pietri finished in 2:54:46.4, but was disqualified for receiving assistance from race officials near the finish. Note.
2:52:45.4 Robert Fowler   United States January 1, 1909 Yonkers, United States IAAF Note.
2:46:52.8 James Clark   United States February 12, 1909 New York City, United States IAAF Note.
2:46:04.6 Albert Raines   United States May 8, 1909 New York City, United States IAAF Note.
2:42:31.0 Henry Barrett   United Kingdom May 8, 1909 Polytechnic Marathon, London, England IAAF Note.
2:40:34.2 Thure Johansson   Sweden August 31, 1909 Stockholm, Sweden IAAF Note.
2:38:16.2 Harry Green   United Kingdom May 12, 1913 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF Note.
2:36:06.6 Alexis Ahlgren   Sweden May 31, 1913 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF Report in The Times claiming world record. Note.
2:38:00.8 Umberto Blasi   Italy November 29, 1914 Legnano, Italy ARRS
2:32:35.8 Hannes Kolehmainen   Finland August 22, 1920 Antwerp Olympics, Belgium IAAF, ARRS The course distance was officially reported to be 42,750 meters/26.56 miles, however, the Association of Road Racing Statisticians estimated the course to be 40 km.
2:29:01.8 Albert Michelsen   United States October 12, 1925 Port Chester Marathon, United States IAAF Note.
2:30:57.6 Harry Payne   United Kingdom July 5, 1929 AAA Championships, London, England ARRS
2:26:14 Sohn Kee-chung Japanese Korea March 21, 1935 Tokyo, Japan ARRS Also romanized as Kitei Son.
2:27:49.0 Fusashige Suzuki   Japan March 31, 1935 Tokyo, Japan IAAF According to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, Suzuki's 2:27:49 performance occurred in Tokyo on March 21, 1935, during a race in which he finished second to Sohn Kee-chung (sometimes referred to as Kee-Jung Sohn or Son Kitei) who ran a 2:26:14.
2:26:44.0 Yasuo Ikenaka   Japan April 3, 1935 Tokyo, Japan IAAF Note.
2:26:42 Sohn Kee-chung Japanese Korea November 3, 1935 Meiji Shrine Games, Tokyo, Japan IAAF Also romanized as Kitei Son. Note.
2:25:39 Suh Yun-bok   Korea April 19, 1947 Boston Marathon IAAF Disputed (short course). Disputed (point-to-point). Note.
2:20:42.2 Jim Peters   United Kingdom June 14, 1952 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF, ARRS MarathonGuide.com states the course was slightly long. Report in The Times claiming world record.
2:18:40.4 Jim Peters   United Kingdom June 13, 1953 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF, ARRS Report in The Times claiming world record.
2:18:34.8 Jim Peters   United Kingdom October 4, 1953 Turku Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:17:39.4 Jim Peters   United Kingdom June 26, 1954 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF Point-to-point course.[citation needed] Report in The Times claiming world record.
2:18:04.8 Paavo Kotila   Finland August 12, 1956 Finnish Athletics Championships, Pieksämäki, Finland ARRS
2:15:17.0 Sergei Popov   Soviet Union August 24, 1958 European Athletics Championships, Stockholm, Sweden IAAF, ARRS The ARRS notes Popov's extended time as 2:15:17.6
2:15:16.2 Abebe Bikila   Ethiopia September 10, 1960 Rome Olympics, Italy IAAF, ARRS World record fastest marathon run in bare feet.
2:15:15.8 Toru Terasawa   Japan February 17, 1963 Beppu-Ōita Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:14:28 Leonard Edelen   United States June 15, 1963 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF Point-to-point course.[citation needed] Report in The Times claiming world record and stating that the course may have been long.
2:14:43 Brian Kilby   United Kingdom July 6, 1963 Port Talbot, Wales ARRS
2:13:55 Basil Heatley   United Kingdom June 13, 1964 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF Point-to-point course.[citation needed] Report in The Times claiming world record.
2:12:11.2 Abebe Bikila   Ethiopia October 21, 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Japan IAAF, ARRS
2:12:00 Morio Shigematsu   Japan June 12, 1965 Polytechnic Marathon IAAF Point-to-point course.[citation needed] Report in The Times claiming world record.
2:09:36.4 Derek Clayton   Australia December 3, 1967 Fukuoka Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:08:33.6 Derek Clayton   Australia May 30, 1969 Antwerp, Belgium IAAF Disputed (short course).
2:09:28.8 Ron Hill   United Kingdom July 23, 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, Scotland ARRS
2:09:12 Ian Thompson   United Kingdom January 31, 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games, New Zealand ARRS
2:09:05.6 Shigeru So   Japan February 5, 1978 Beppu-Ōita Marathon ARRS
2:09:01 Gerard Nijboer   Netherlands April 26, 1980 Amsterdam Marathon ARRS
2:08:18 Robert De Castella   Australia December 6, 1981 Fukuoka Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:08:05 Steve Jones   United Kingdom October 21, 1984 Chicago Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:07:12 Carlos Lopes   Portugal April 20, 1985 Rotterdam Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:06:50 Belayneh Dinsamo   Ethiopia April 17, 1988 Rotterdam Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:06:05 Ronaldo da Costa   Brazil September 20, 1998 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS First time the 40K mark was passed under two hours (1:59:55).
2:05:42 Khalid Khannouchi   Morocco October 24, 1999 Chicago Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:05:38 Khalid Khannouchi   United States April 14, 2002 London Marathon IAAF, ARRS First "World's Best" recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The ARRS notes Khannouchi's extended time as 2:05:37.8
2:04:55 Paul Tergat   Kenya September 28, 2003 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS First world record for the men's marathon ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
2:04:26 Haile Gebrselassie   Ethiopia September 30, 2007 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:03:59 Haile Gebrselassie   Ethiopia September 28, 2008 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS The ARRS notes Gebrselassie's extended time as 2:03:58.2. Video on YouTube
2:03:38 Patrick Makau   Kenya September 25, 2011 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:03:23 Wilson Kipsang   Kenya September 29, 2013 Berlin Marathon IAAF ARRS The ARRS notes Kipsang's extended time as 2:03:22.2
2:02:57 Dennis Kimetto   Kenya September 28, 2014 Berlin Marathon IAAF ARRS The ARRS notes Kimetto's extended time as 2:02:56.4
2:01:39 Eliud Kipchoge   Kenya September 16, 2018 Berlin Marathon IAAF
2:01:09 Eliud Kipchoge   Kenya September 25, 2022 Berlin Marathon World Athletics
2:00:35 Kelvin Kiptum   Kenya October 8, 2023 Chicago Marathon World Athletics First man to break 2:01:00 in a record-eligible marathon.

Women

Table key:
  Listed by World Athletics as a world best prior to official acceptance
  Ratified by World Athletics as a world best (since January 1, 2003) or world record (since January 1, 2004)
  Recognized by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS)

Time Name Nationality Date Event/Place Source Notes
5:40:xx Marie-Louise Ledru   France September 29, 1918 Tour de Paris Marathon ARRS
3:40:22 Violet Piercy   United Kingdom October 3, 1926 London IAAF The ARRS indicates that Piercy's 3:40:22 was set on August 2, 1926, during a time trial on a course that was only 35.4 km.
3:37:07 Merry Lepper   United States December 16, 1963 Culver City, United States IAAF Disputed (short course).
3:27:45 Dale Greig   United Kingdom May 23, 1964 Ryde IAAF, ARRS
3:19:33 Mildred Sampson   New Zealand July 21, 1964 Auckland, New Zealand IAAF Disputed by ARRS as a time trial.
3:14:23 Maureen Wilton   Canada May 6, 1967 Toronto, Canada IAAF, ARRS The ARRS notes Wilton's extended time as 3:14:22.8
3:07:27.2 Anni Pede-Erdkamp   West Germany September 16, 1967 Waldniel, West Germany IAAF, ARRS The ARRS notes Pede-Erdkamp's extended time as 3:07:26.2
3:02:53 Caroline Walker   United States February 28, 1970 Seaside, OR IAAF, ARRS
3:01:42 Elizabeth Bonner   United States May 9, 1971 Philadelphia, United States IAAF, ARRS
2:55:22 Elizabeth Bonner   United States September 19, 1971 New York City Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:49:40 Cheryl Bridges   United States December 5, 1971 Culver City, United States IAAF, ARRS
2:46:36 Michiko Gorman   United States December 2, 1973 Culver City, United States IAAF, ARRS The ARRS notes Gorman's extended time as 2:46:37
2:46:24 Chantal Langlacé   France October 27, 1974 Neuf-Brisach, France IAAF, ARRS
2:43:54.5 Jacqueline Hansen   United States December 1, 1974 Culver City, United States IAAF, ARRS The ARRS notes Hansen's extended time as 2:43:54.6
2:42:24 Liane Winter   West Germany April 21, 1975 Boston Marathon IAAF Disputed (point-to-point).
2:40:15.8 Christa Vahlensieck   West Germany May 3, 1975 Dülmen IAAF, ARRS
2:38:19 Jacqueline Hansen   United States October 12, 1975 Nike OTC Marathon, Eugene, United States IAAF, ARRS
2:35:15.4 Chantal Langlacé   France May 1, 1977 Oiartzun, Spain IAAF
2:34:47.5 Christa Vahlensieck   West Germany September 10, 1977 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:32:29.8 Grete Waitz   Norway October 22, 1978 New York City Marathon IAAF Disputed (short course).
2:27:32.6 Grete Waitz   Norway October 21, 1979 New York City Marathon IAAF Disputed (short course).
2:31:23 Joan Benoit   United States February 3, 1980 Auckland, New Zealand ARRS
2:30:57.1 Patti Catalano   United States September 6, 1980 Montreal, Canada ARRS
2:25:41.3 Grete Waitz   Norway October 26, 1980 New York City Marathon IAAF Disputed (short course).
2:30:27 Joyce Smith   United Kingdom November 16, 1980 Tokyo, Japan ARRS
2:29:57 Joyce Smith   United Kingdom March 29, 1981 London Marathon ARRS
2:25:28 Allison Roe   New Zealand October 25, 1981 New York City Marathon IAAF Disputed (short course).
2:29:01.6 Charlotte Teske   West Germany January 16, 1982 Miami, United States ARRS
2:26:12 Joan Benoit   United States September 12, 1982 Nike OTC Marathon, Eugene, United States ARRS
2:25:28.7 Grete Waitz   Norway April 17, 1983 London Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:22:43 Joan Benoit   United States April 18, 1983 Boston Marathon IAAF Disputed (point-to-point).
2:24:26 Ingrid Kristiansen   Norway May 13, 1984 London Marathon ARRS
2:21:06 Ingrid Kristiansen   Norway April 21, 1985 London Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:20:47 Tegla Loroupe   Kenya April 19, 1998 Rotterdam Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:20:43 Tegla Loroupe   Kenya September 26, 1999 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:19:46 Naoko Takahashi   Japan September 30, 2001 Berlin Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:18:47 Catherine Ndereba   Kenya October 7, 2001 Chicago Marathon IAAF, ARRS
2:17:18 Paula Radcliffe   United Kingdom October 13, 2002 Chicago Marathon IAAF, ARRS First "World's Best" recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The ARRS notes Radcliffe's extended time as 2:17:17.7
2:15:25 Mx Paula Radcliffe   United Kingdom April 13, 2003 London Marathon IAAF, ARRS First world record for the women's marathon ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The ARRS notes Radcliffe's extended time as 2:15:24.6
2:17:42 Wo Paula Radcliffe   Great Britain April 17, 2005 London Marathon IAAF
2:17:01 Wo Mary Jepkosgei Keitany   Kenya April 23, 2017 London Marathon IAAF
2:14:04 Mx Brigid Kosgei   Kenya October 13, 2019 Chicago Marathon IAAF
2:11:53 Mx Tigst Assefa   Ethiopia September 24, 2023 Berlin Marathon World Athletics First woman to break the 2:12:00 barrier in the marathon.

Gallery of world record holders

See also

Men's Masters Records

Women's Masters Records

Notes

References

Sources

External links