As GPS and tracking technology continues to become the standard way that runners document their training and racing, the data that can be harvested from these uploads is revealing far more about running than was first imagined.
When lots of people are running together, well, it gets even more interesting! Strava analysed the data from a total of 1,031 members who uploaded their 2014 Berlin Marathon GPS activity and here's what they found -
- Where is the wall? Runners hit their wall with the slowest average moving time of 6:01 min/km recorded at kilometre 39, just after the official course crosses the old Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz at kilometre 38.6.
“The Wall” explained - Strava uploads from 2014 reveal that runners’ efforts start to show in the final few kilometres of the race. Uploads highlight that the 39-kilometre split is the slowest point in the race with an average moving time of 6:01 min/km. This is 46 seconds slower than the overall average pace per kilometre. Insights reveal the shift in pace happens after runners get pumped up by music, entertainment and spectators between kilometres 35 and 36. They then pay the price soon after and drop their pace by 19.5% between kilometres 37 and 38.
The change in average moving pace between runners’ fastest kilometre, kilometre 16 at 4:38 min/km and kilometre 39 represents a 29.8% slow-down. Similar to Strava uploads analysed for the 2014 marathon in London, where runners hit their slowest average recorded pace at mile 25 or kilometre 40, as expected this shows that the race is hardest in the final stages.
- Does age play a role in marathon running? Runners on Strava in the 30-39 and 40-49 age groups show their experience and run a faster race than their younger contemporaries. They finish with an average time of 3:41:48 and 3:43:38 respectively, in contrast to the younger 20-29 age group, who on average clock 3:48:16.
Running smart comes with age - Further investigation reveals that Strava members in the 30-39 and 40-49 age group show their experience and run a faster race than their younger contemporaries. They finish with an average time of 3:41:48 and 3:43:38 respectively, in contrast to the younger 20-29 age group, who clock 3:48:16. In terms of pacing, this equates to a pace of 5:09 min/km for 30-39’ers and 5:12 min/km for 40-49’ers, compared to slower pacing of the 20-29’ers at 5:19 min/km.
- Which nationalities finish first? Out of the 59 nationalities who uploaded their race on Strava, Swiss runners were the fastest nation with a speedy average time of 3:24:00, followed by Norway and Spain sharing second place at 3:32:00 and the French coming in third at 3:34:00. German runners rank seventh on their home ground, clocking a sub-four hour average at 3:58:00.
The fastest nations - Known as one of the fastest and most popular marathons in the world, a global community of runners gather in the city of Berlin every year. Out of the 59 nationalities who uploaded their race on Strava, Swiss runners clock the fastest average finish time of 3:24:00, followed 8 minutes later by Norway and Spain crossing the line at 3:32:00. The French follow closely in third place at 3:34:00, whilst German runners clock a sub-four hour average at 3:58:00 on their home ground. The vast majority of the nationalities represented also achieved the average finish times goals they set themselves on Strava pre-race.
Keep up the pace
The average pace for a runner on Strava during the 2014 Berlin Marathon was 5:15 min/km, with a 0:45 seconds per kilometre difference between men and women.
Crossing the line
Based on the uploads, the average marathon finish time of a runner on Strava is 3:45:48. There is a 32 minute gap between men’s and women’s average overall times, with men crossing the line at an average time of 3:41:40 and women at 4:13:27.
Paul Niemeyer, German Country Manager for Strava, commented: “We made use of the Strava Running Races functionality to gain these unique insights from our global running community and hope that it helps Berlin marathon runners to prepare themselves ahead of the race. Strava’s community continues to expand globally, so we are able to share unique insights into the trends and behaviours of marathon runners.