The answer to the age-old question – who are better runners, men or women? – has finally been answered. Women win.

At least that’s the conclusion presented by the folks at, who recently released an analysis of 2.3 million marathon results (Boston, Berlin, Chicago, London, New York, Paris) from the 2009-2019 period. The purpose was to analyze differences in pace throughout the marathon between women and men. There are two key findings:

  1. Women are 18.33 percent better at keeping an even pace than men.
  2. They burn out less in the 2nd half of the marathon. 

According to the analysis written up by’s Jovana Subic – [email protected] – there are some significant differences between the way women and men approach a race and how they achieve their goals.

  • An increase of 14.07 percent in the average pace for men during the second half of the marathon was observed, as opposed to an 11.49 percent increase for women. The conclusion:,Women are 18.33 percent better at keeping an even pace than men. 
  • Almost 92 percent of the participants, both women and men, ran the first half of the marathon faster than the second one, even though running at an equal pace is optimal for performance, with the best athletes aiming for such results. 
  • Men had better average finish times – no surprise there – but women are better at pacing. This stands for both groups: those who ran the first half of the marathon faster and those who ran the second half faster. 
  • Runners who started a bit slower are more likely to run the marathon at a more even pace than those who have started faster.

The results back up an earlier study of the State of ultra running, which showed that the longer the distance, the shorter the gender pace gap. Female ultra runners are faster on average than male ultra runners at distances over 195miles.

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