Runners are clocking faster London Marathon times than before, Strava data reveals

From milestones to 'bonking': inside the numbers of London's biggest race

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2022/10/02: Some runners seen in fancy costumes as they run past mile 21 during the London marathon. For the first time a stretch of the London Marathon route was transformed into Rainbow Row to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, promote inclusivity and create a party atmosphere. Marathon runners passed two stages with music and drag performances. Butchers Row in Limehouse was covered with colourful flags and buntings.
(Image credit: Bonnie Britain/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As the countdown to the London Marathon intensifies, the digital community platform Strava sheds light on some fascinating insights into the habits and achievements of marathon enthusiasts.

Strava's data from last year's race shows that over half of the 48,000 finishers uploaded their achievements onto the platform, offering a goldmine of information for running aficionados.

The surge in data isn't surprising, with many people on races now wearing running watches or other performance wearables (e.g. heart rate monitors) to track their progress through the 26.2 miles.

One standout finding is the surge in speed: the median finish time for the 2023 London Marathon was a sprightly 4:06:39, a notable improvement from the previous year's 4:18:34. It seems London runners are picking up the pace!

The reason behind this quickening could be anything, although it's hard not to attribute at least some of it to the prevalence of so-called super shoes, such as the Nike Alphafly 2, Adidas Adios Pro 3, Saucony Endorphin Elite and more.

People also log training in Strava, and there are some curiosities here, too. Sub-3:30 finishers are putting in some serious mileage, clocking in an average of 499 miles during their 16-week training regimen.

Interestingly, age seems to be just a number when it comes to marathon prowess. Generation X runners (born between 1965 and 1980) are keeping pace with their Gen Z counterparts (born between 1997 and 2012), with only a slight difference in training speed.

However, Gen Xers are putting in nearly double the mileage, proving that experience and perseverance pay off!

And let's not forget the inevitable 'bonking' phenomenon. Nearly half of the runners experience a slowdown after the 20-mile mark, with some seeing their dream of a sub-four-hour finish fade into the distance. But hey, finishing is still winning, right?

As for international comparisons, London Marathon runners aren't afraid of a challenge. Despite landing second to last in terms of median finish time among major marathons, these athletes embody the spirit of perseverance and determination, showing that it's not just about the finish line but the journey to get there.

It will be interesting to see how this year's runners compare to 2023's finishers. Whatever the end results might be, we're sure we'll witness an exhilarating London Marathon weekend.

Check out the London Marathon route on Strava.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.