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It wasn’t until 2004 that world records were officially recognized by the IAAF, and in order for a record to be recognized, marathon courses have to conform to IAAF standards.
With the variance in elevation, course and surface, marathon routes understandably vary – however, fastest times are typically set over relatively flat course close to sea level, and usually during favorable weather conditions.
Most marathon participants don’t run to win, they run to best their personal finish time, and some just want to finish. Some run the entire distance, others develop a run-walk strategy. On average, marathon time in the US was 4 hours 32 minutes 8 seconds for men and 5 hours 6 minutes 8 seconds for women.
The fastest world record time for men over a marathon distance is currently 2 hours 3 minutes and 59 seconds, which was set by Haile Begrselassie (Ethiopia) at the Berlin Marathon in 2008. The women’s world record was set by Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe during the London Marathon in 2005. Her time: 2 hours 17 minutes and 42 seconds.
But you don’t have to be a world class marathon runner in my book to be applauded for your accomplishments. Take for instance my next door neighbor, B, who was seriously injured in a car accident on her way to participate in the Boston Marathon several years ago. Her husband asked my advise regarding which car accident lawyer website he should use to find an attorney to prosecute his wife’s case. I told him that he should look for a local lawyer who would know the state’s laws regarding car accidents. Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis and take about 30%-40% of the settlement as their fee. He thought that was high, but I said that is an industry standard and if you win your case it will most likely be worth it. It took 18 months of rehab, but B just ran in her first marathon since the accident. She didn’t win. That wasn’t the goal. But she completed the race in a personal best time. And to her and her family and friends, including myself, that was a huge victory and worth applauding as if she had won in a world record breaking time!
Here below is a list of the world’s top ten fastest runners, both men and women, and fields are in order of running time, runner, country of origin, and marathon:
TOP TEN MALE MARATHON RUNNERS
2h03:59 Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopia Berlin
2h04:27 Duncan Kibet Kenya Rotterdam
2h04:27 James Kwambai Kenya Rotterdam
2h04:55 Paul Tergat Kenya Berlin
2h04:56 Sammy Korir Kenya Berlin
2h05:04 Abel Kirui Kenya Rotterdam
2h05:10 Samuel Wanjiru Kenya London
2h05:15 Martin Lel Kenya London
2h05:20 Tsegaye Kebede Ethiopia London
2h05:27 Jaouad Gharib Morocco London
TOP TEN FEMALE MARATHON RUNNERS
2h15:25 Paula Radcliffe GB London
2h18:47 Catherine Ndereba Kenya Chicago
2h19:12 Mizuki Noguchi Japan Berlin
2h19:19 Irina Mikitenko Germany Berlin
2h19:36 Deena Kastor US London
2h19:39 Sun Yingjie China Beijing
2h19:41 Yoko Shibui Japan Berlin
2h19:46 Naoko Takahashi Japan Berlin
2h19:51 Zhou Chunxiu China Seoul
2h20:42 Berhane Adere Ethiopia Chicago
All of those record are there to be broken if you train hard & work at it maybe you can do it.