Great North Run 2021: what is a good time to finish a half marathon - distance, training plan, pace explained

The 40th anniversary of The Great North Run takes place this weekend with around 57,000 entrants taking part

Every year the GNR inspires people to dust off their running shoes and take to the streets, beaches and countryside to either test there own times or prepare for next year’s event!

At 13.1 miles The Great North Run is classed as a “half marathon" and is a distance which beginners can set as a target to eventually build up to.

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Here’s what you need to know if you want to prepare yourself for a half marathon.

Will this weekend's Great North Run inspire you to get out and test your own run times?

How long is a half marathon?

13.1 miles (a full marathon is 26.2 miles)

How long does it take to prepare for a half marathon?

It will likely depend on your base fitness but Marathon Handbook says that a newbie runner should be able to prepare for a half marathon in three to four months.

If you already have running experience and have completed shorter races such as a 5k or 10k then three months (12 weeks) is an achievable target.

What is a good time to finish a half marathon?

According to Runners World Magazine, a time between 2 hours 20 minutes and 3 hours is “a solid goal for beginners” and completing the course within two hours is “a popular goal” for more experienced runners.

The popular publication also claims that anywhere from 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes is a common goal for elite level male runners while elite female athletes is anywhere between 1 hour 20 minutes and 1 hour 40 minutes.

What is the half marathon world record?

The official IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) world record for men is 57:32, set by Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya in December 2020.

The official women’s world record is is 1:04:51, set by Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya on October 22, 2017.

What is the average time it takes to run a half marathon?

Per Runners World, the average pace for a man is 5.57 minutes per kilometre, or 8.96 minutes per mile. For a female runner, the average half marathon pace is 6.40 minutes per kilometre, which equates to 10.29 minute miles.