Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Berlin Marathon - Where Are The Women?

The big story for last Sunday's Berlin Marathon was Japan's Mizuki Noguchi, the reigning Olympic champion. She broke the women's course record with a time of 2:19:12. She looks like Japan's version of Paula Radcliffe. According to Runners World Magazine, 15 million Japanese viewers tuned in to watch television coverage of the Berlin Marathon. The fastest male runner was the Kenyan Philip Manyim with a time of 2:07:41 (More at

The Berlin Marathon is famous for world record times. A page at the Berlin Marathon website lists the all-time top 10 race performances (not yet updated with Sunday's results). The fastest time is Paul Tergat's world record 2:04:55 followed by Sammy Korrir's 2:04:56 (who came in second to Tergat). That was run in the 2003 race and must have been an exciting finish. The tenth place time is 2:06:52 run by Vincent Kipsos in 2002. I wonder how many marathons have course records faster than this 10th place record?

Another thing I found interesting about last Sunday's marathon was the gender demographics. There were a total of 30,584 marathon finishers. Out of these runners, there were only 5,946 women. That's only about 19%. Most marathons that I've reviewed in the US tend to average around 40% women. For example, for the LA Marathon in 2005, women made up about 38%. I wonder if this 19% percentage is common for marathons across Europe? Perhaps European women haven't taken to running like US women have?


  • I wandered over from on Mark's recommendation of your blog. I have been living and running in Germany for a couple of years and find your observation interesting. I would generally say that the percentage of female runner's at the shorter races (5K, 10K) in my area is much closer to the U.S. percentage than the longer races. For half-marathons the percentage seems to be a lot less as you mentioned. For example the recent Baden Half-Marathon had something like 30% women runners. I ran the Mannheim and Baden marathons this year and they had approx. 17% and 15% female runners, respectively. Although changing rapidly, running and biking are still very much male dominated sports in Germany, at least according to my observations, and a lot of sports clubs do not help this situation.

    By Blogger Jack, at 11:28 PM  

  • Thanks for the info and stats! It'll be interesting to see if the percentages will keep going up.

    By Blogger Ken, at 11:12 AM  

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