How Long Does it Take to Run the Boston Marathon? Boston Marathon Results and Finish Times Analysis

By Raymond Britt and RunTriMedia

More than 26,600 runners finished the 2019 Boston Marathon in solid overall average time of 3 hours, 53 minutes. By comparison, the average finish time at Boston 2000 to 2019 is just a minute slower, 3:54. Notably, the 2019 average was 4 minutes faster than the average time of 3:57 in terrible weather conditions in 2018.

We've crunched the numbers to illustrate the dynamics of Boston Marathon 2019 in several dimensions on the following charts, covering:

  • Average Finish Times 2000-2019: Overall Average 3:54
  • Boston 2019 Average Finish Time by Division
  • Comparison of Boston Average Finish Times by Division 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Boston Marathon Finishers each Year 2000-2019
  • Boston Marathon Finishers by Division 2019
  • Comparison of Boston 2019 Finishers by Gender and Division
  • Comparison of Boston Finishers by Gender and Division 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Weather vs Finish Times 1999-2019: Correlation between Temperature and Finish Time by Year

At the next level of detail, here are the average finish times by gender and division.


To find individual 2019 race results, visit Take a look at our elite race photos, too.


2018 Recap

Rough year at the 2018 Boston Marathon as runners had to endure what some are calling the worst weather conditions in three decades: cold, rain, wind, and wind chill. 

The elites seemed especially punished by the weather, but believe it or not, the average finish time for all in 2018, 3:57, was one minute faster than the 3:58 in 2017.

Here we present our annual comprehensive results analysis for all starters, finishers, age groups and the impact of weather on finish times, plus a link to's searchable results. 

Our analysis of Boston Marathon from the years 1999 to 2018 indicates the average finish time is 3:54; three hours and fifty-four minutes. That's at least 25 to 30 minutes than the average time of the top 25 marathons.

But there's so much more specificity we can provide about average finish times. We've crunched the numbers to illustrate:
  • Boston Marathon finish times 2000 to 2017, 
  • details on 2017 by age group and by age group within each of four waves
  • Compare Boston 2012 against both Boston 2004 and Boston 2010 by race division, by gender and age, by city, by Boston Qualifiers, and more. 

Track your 2018 athlete throughout the race with real-time results hosted by the Boston Athletic Association, at this link:

2017 Finish Times by Age Group, Wave, City
    Racing Boston: Strategy, Pacing, Weather
    Desiree Linden Wins Boston Marathon 2018

    Boston Marathon Average Finish Times 2000 to 2017

    Boston Marathon Average Finish Times 2017 by Age Group

    Boston Marathon Average Finish Times 2017 by Age Group by Wave

    Boston Marathon 2012

    Boston 2012 Runner Stats: Average Finish Time, Runners, Finishers, DNS, DNF, Deferred to 2013
    • Average Finish Time: 4:18:27 (vs 3:51+ 12 Year Average)
    • Finishers: 21,554 (95.9% of starters); 8,966 Women, 12,588 Men
    • Entrants26,656 runners entered to run the 2012 Boston Marathon
    • Qualified Runners: 20,081 -- see Qualifying for Boston for details
    • Non-Qualified Runners: 6,575 runners received entry via charity or other entities
    • Did Not Start -- No-Shows: An estimated 3,803 entrants did not pick up their bib numbers
    • Did Not Start -- Weather Deferral GroupRunners World reports 427 eligible for deferral to 2013
    • Runners: An estimated 22,480 started the race in Hopkinton
    • Did Not Finish: 926, 4.1%
    • For more, see our historical Entrants, DNS and DNF rates, Finishers
    Results Analysis: Average Finish Times 2000 to 2011 -- 2012 Avg. Time = 4:18:27

    Finish Times by Age Group 2011: Average Time Overall = 3:54

    Finish Times by Age 2010

    Ironman Kona Hawaii: Results Analysis, Advice, Qualifiers. More

    By Raymond Britt

    Ironman Kona Fast Facts, Analysis and Advice

    By Raymond Britt (includes excerpts from our book Qualifying for Kona

    What's it like to race the Ironman in Hawaii?  It's everything you've ever thought it would be, and much more. You'll know what I mean when you get there. Want to race in Kona? We've competed in the Hawaii Ironman there times; here's just about everything you need to know, from stats, results to the complete story of the race from start to finish.  

      Ironman Kona World Championship
      Qualify for Kona

      Ironman Advice
      Featured Ironman Qualifiers

      Chicago Marathon: Finish Times, Racing Advice, Pace Charts, Results Analysis, and More

      By Raymond Britt  Here's just about everything you want to know about running the Chicago Marathon. If you or someone you know plans to run Chicago, or has run it and wants to run better next time, you've come the the right place.
      What to Expect on Race Day

      Each year Chicago welcomes nearly 40,000 inspiring runners -- from the world's best to complete novices -- who will start, discover, battle, and ultimately finish something they once thought impossible, even ridiculous: the Chicago Marathon, all 26 miles, 385 yards.

      At 7:30am on marathon Sunday, all will share one overall goal: run Chicago, finish Chicago, become a part of a 114 year-old tradition of the greatest race in the world. To make that goal a reality, here's what you need to know.

      Your first starting gun, of sorts, begins with your alarm clock on race morning. With a record number of participants all headed toward Grant Park at about the same time, there will be traffic congestion. The last thing you want to do on race morning is panic about getting a  parking spot, or find yourself without enough time to get ready to run. I’d suggest trying to get downtown by 6am.

      What to Wear

      The weather on race day has varied widely in the last decade, from temperatures in the low 30s at the start to sunny 70 degree warmth. Dress for the conditions. Keep it simple; plan to run in clothes you would wear if it were a training day. But you can also dress with the option to make changes, so to speak, on the fly.

      If it’s expected to be chilly at the start, consider wearing an old sweatshirt over your running clothes, with an expectation you’ll toss it a few miles into the run. If the cold is expected to hold all morning, consider running in a jacket or vest to keep your torso warm. Cotton gloves and a hat can make the course more comfortable, too.


      At least two hours before the race, I like to eat about 600 calories, typically a bagel, banana, and energy bar. You coffee drinkers will also  want to load up with a little eye-opening caffeine. If you expect you might experience cramps during the race, consider taking a salt pill.

      And, of course, begin sipping water or sports drink when you wake up. Then I try to limit fluids in the hour before the race, to minimize the need for, shall we say, pit stops on the course.

      My rules of thumb for race nutrition and hydration on the course: drink something every two miles, and take in 100 calories (I use GU) every 4 miles. This approach can be a Wall Buster, it keeps me hydrated and relatively energized through those tough miles, to the finish.

      Friends and Relatives

      One of the fun aspects of the Chicago course is that there are so many places that friends and loved ones can watch all the runners and cheer for you. Knowing they are at certain spots on the course make it easier to get through the miles. But you need to pick smart meeting points, where there are likely to be few others, in order to find each other and enjoy those moments together.

      For example, I can tell many runners plan to meet at obvious spots, such as Addison and Broadway in Wrigleyville, or Franklin and Adams in the loop. The problem is, several thousand people make similar plans with their friends and relatives, and when they get there, it’s completely impossible to find anyone they’re looking for. The crowds at those spots are huge and inspiring, it’s just not the best place to meet.

      Instead, pick meeting locations a few blocks in either direction away from those popular spots. Be clear about the meeting spot, such as southwest corner, in front of the ABC building. It also helps to try to provide a time range when you think you’ll be there.

      Getting to the Start

      When 40,000 runners begin to move toward the starting line on Grant Park, things will slow down fast. Marathon organizers do a nice job of directing traffic and getting runners in the right starting areas (designated by bib color and number), but the process may take much  longer than you think. Assuming you’re waiting within a half mile of the starting area, move toward the starting line no later than 6:30am.

      Anxious Moments

      Soon enough you’ll be standing side-by-side with runners from all over the world, in at atmosphere made up of excitement, anticipation, anxiousness, a little fear, and a lot of natural adrenaline.

      As the clock ticks closer to the 8am start time, look around you. Smile and greet the runners near you. Ask where they’re from. Ask what kind of day they are expecting on the course. Pat them on the back and wish them luck. It’s good karma and part of sharing the experience with the running community. You may be running by yourself out there, but those near you will be carrying you, a little.

      And You’re Off

      Before you know it, the starting gun will fire, and the race will begin. Though that may be more literally true for you if you are near the end of the pack of 40,000 runners. For those at the back, the clock will pass 8am and you might not move for awhile. That’s the nature of pushing tens of thousands of people down a 6-lane road all at once.

      Even for those at the front, the congestion will resemble the Kennedy Expressway at rush hour on a holiday weekend.

      For nearly everyone except the elites and the really competitive runners at the front, starting this marathon really means walking a few steps, then trotting until things spread out a little, transitioning to a jog as you learn to navigate in the small box you occupy within surrounding runners.

      The First Mile

      Within one-third of a mile, the pack of runners will spread out ever-so-slightly, at least enough so that you can begin to run freely. Then the fun begins.

      With Millenium Park on your left, you’ll run under the Randolph Street Overpass, which will be lined with screaming spectators and a few TV cameras. Look up, smile and wave.

      Then you’ll disappear on lower Columbus Ave for about ¼ mile heading toward the Chicago River. You’ll know what to do when you get to this tunnel-like area: whoop it up! Everyone around you will be doing it, and it’s just one of the early part of a race experience you’ll never forget.

      The Fun Miles

      Get into a steady groove, and enjoy, for lack of a better word, the first 13 miles that will take you through Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, Old Town, River North and The Loop. You will feel good, and if you’ve been training, it will feel relatively easy. Remember to drink water or Gatorade every two miles or so, and try to get 100 calories every 4 miles.

      When you enter The Loop on your 13th mile, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a parade. Thousands of spectators will be cheering for you and everyone around you. It’s a great spectacle; soak it in, enjoy it. Because the course may begin to push back on you soon.

      Tough Miles

      Leaving the noise and excitement of The Loop and disappearing west onto relatively quiet roads brings a stark reality: you’re only halfway there, and the finish is still a long way away.
      That’s when your legs are wearing down, and when you let your mental training take over. Those long runs weren’t just for your body; they also prepared you to have the will and the spirit to take you the extra mile and then some. On your race day, draw on those training experiences, keep moving, keep steady, keep yourself in the game.

      Break things up by looking forward to passing more of Chicago’s distinctive neighborhoods: Little Italy at mile 17; Pilsen at mile 19; Chinatown after mile 21.

      The Turning Point

      Then look forward to reaching White Sox Park after mile 22. The ballpark has always been a positive landmark for me. It’s deep into the race, but it also represents the turning point, in more ways then one.

      Literally, once you see the ballpark, you’ll take a left turn on 33rd to begin the approach to the finish line. And figuratively, that turn can signal a turn inside, toward the excitement of a pending finish. Those long miles are behind you. The finish line gets closer with each step. So does your dream.

      The Finish

      The elites will cross the finish line starting at about 10:06am. The rest of us will reach the finish line, with outstretched arms and pride, for the next several hours. 40,000 finishers. 40,000 experiences. 40,000 reasons to be proud we live in a city that hosts this world class event.

      And a specific reason for you to be proud: you did it. Running a marathon was once one of those things you though was impossible. Remember? Well, it’s possible. You did it.

      Extra Credit: More Statistics

      Images by Raymond Britt featured by Runner's World.