Posted: 03 April 2014

How long did 34,000 athletes need to finish the London Marathon?

Jump to our interactive chart of finish times from last year's London Marathon.

On 13 April, more than 34,000 athletes, including our team of 85 fantastic runners, will line up for this year's Virgin London Marathon. Will you be running? Cheering on others?

We compiled an interactive chart that tallies, by hour and minute, more than 34,000 runners' finishing times during last year's Virgin London Marathon. 

As you'd expect, although everyone ran the same 26.2 miles, there was a lot of variance in the amount of time people spent the course, but there are also some common themes.

Running goals revealed?

The main thing that the chart shows is that while there's an overall bell shape to the curve, there are also definite spikes. There are some interesting peaks falling at about 30 minutes apart, at 2:59, 3:28, 3:58, 4:29 and 4:56. Is that because several runners beat their target times of 3:00, 3:30, 4:00, etc, or is it some random coincidence?

Based on the runners I've met who tend to keep their times in mind for races, I vote for it being down to runners' plans. Also, more people finished the race at 3:58 and 4:28 - just ahead of 4:00 and 4:30 - than any other times.

Leave a comment

Does this chart show that many runners are beating their running goals? Also, the data allows us to break down the data by gender and age range. If you'd like to see those breakdowns, let us know - leave a comment below the chart.

(You can find a bigger version of the chart on the Datawrapper website.) 


Our data is from the Virgin London Marathon 2013 website. For simplicity, we rounded all finish times down to the nearest whole minute. So if someone finished at 4:22:38, their time was tallied as 4:22. Also, we only charted finishing times of eight hours or faster.

By Matt Summers-Sparks - Digital team

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