Boston Marathon 2013 Results Analysis

The horrific terror attack at 2013's Boston Marathon finish line has perhaps changed the race forever. The moment the bombs went off, any and all individual race-related expectations and ambitions for the day were immediately dismissed. Finishing the race was no longer the objective; saving lives, and preventing additional disaster became the essential priorities.

The race was and will remain incomplete. In the wake of the tragedy, the need for race statistics and analysis may as well be meaningless. However, as many have urged, we cannot let terrorists stop us; we cannot back down; we must remain proud; we must carry on; we must celebrate achievements now, more than ever, because the attack reminds us that there are no guarantees about tomorrow -- so we should seize the day with honor and distinction.

Those who suffered at the hands of cowardly villains were originally at the race to cheer, to support, to hail runners' success.  They would want all runners -- finishers and almost-finishers -- to take pride in a job well done, an accomplishment years in the making for most: racing in the legendary Boston Marathon.

Undoubtedly, the courageous victims and survivors of the tragedy would insist on celebrating success on the hallowed course, and it's in that spirit that we present our comprehensive Boston Marathon 2013 Results Analysis.


The race was ended by explosions with 4:09 on the finish clocks, though this timing is likely elapsed time for the 3rd wave runners, which began their race 40 minutes after the elites crossed the starting line. Between the elite start and 4:09 at the finish line, this is what happened:
  • Entrants: Nearly 27,000 runners were officially entered (approximately 22,000 qualified and 5,000 ran for charities)
  • Starters: Of those entrants, 87%, or 23,336 chose to compete; 13% Did Not Start (DNS)
  • Finishers: 17,580, or 75% of starters, completed the race before the terrorist attack shut the race down.
  • Almost Finishers:  4,496 had reached 24.8 miles, but were not allowed to continue
  • Average Finish Time*: 3 hours, 29 minutes (* for the 17,580 finishers)
  • Projected Average Finish Time: We expect the race would have averaged 3:45 if all runners finished
  • Average Finish Time of Boston 2010, before Qualifying times were reduced by 5 minutes: 3:50
  • Effective improvement in field of runners in 2013: 5 minutes faster
Direct analytic comparisons with other Boston Marathon results are, at first glance, naturally impossible, because Boston 2013 was unfinished, final results never to be completely tallied. And we do make adjustments below to accomodate a fair comparison. Bust first, the basics: actual comparisons between 2010, 2012, and 2013.

Adjustments And Comparative Results

However, we did want to know how results of the 17,580 Boston 2013 finishers compared with other years, so we modified the datasets, to allow for a truly comparable set of comparisons. The adjustment: compare results for only the first 17,580 finishers in the 2010 (conditions most like 2013) and 2012 (the outlier, due to unprecedented heat). So here it is, the adjusted direct comparisons.

Elite Race Results

Lelisa Desisa and Rita Jeptoo have won the men's and women's divisions, respectively, of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Top US finishers were Jason Hartman for the men and Shalane Flanagan for the women. Top 10 results, as posted on the official race site are below.

Also see our complete Boston Marathon 2013 Results Analysis for all runners.  

For more, see our Complete Boston Marathon Coverage.