Runner’s World On Half Marathons
Runner’s World issued a Half Marathon Special edition in August, 2012, packed with interesting information. They surveyed 8,719 readers and found out, for example, that 37% of runners considered the half marathon their favorite distance. This compared with 20% for the 5-K, 15% for the 10-K and 13% for the marathon.
[heading] The Pikermi[/heading]
I also found out there is a move to rename the half marathon the Pikermi. Somehow, I don’t think that will stick: unless you’re Greek you’ll have a problem with the pronunciation. Pikermi, apparently, was the half way point on the original run by Pheippides from Marathon to Athens.
If we’re going to rename the half, it seems to be that 21-K would be a better name. By my reckoning, the half marathon is actually about 44 yards short of 21 kilometers, but they refer to the marathon as a 42-K and the half as a 21-K in much of the world. The Pikermi name has the benefit of history, and was originally proposed by a Filipino living in South Korea (Eric Hidalgo), according to Runner’s World.
[heading] Half Marathon Statistics[/heading]
- If you’re looking to break the record, the half marathon world record stands right now at 58:23, set by Zersenay Tades in Lisbon, in 2010. The women’s world record is held by Mary Jepkosgei Keitany, and stands at 1:05:50. Both those times sound astounding to me: it will be interesting to see how long they last.
- Half marathoners outnumber marathoners by about 4:1 in all but one of the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon events, the exception being San Diego. The Las Vegas event attracts 33,000 half marathoners to 4,000 full marathoners. And across all half marathons, 59% of the runners are women.
- Comparing marathons and half marathons, 50% of marathon runners have never completed a full marathon. According to Runner’s World, 100% of half marathoners have completed one or more, and 45% have completed 2-5 half marathons. I find this surprising: if true, it is an indication of how easy the half is relative to a full marathon.
[heading] An Olympic Event?[/heading]
Runner’s World has plenty more statistics – if you want them all, you’ll have to read their article. The most startling information for me was just how popular this race has become in the last few years: the number of half marathons increased from 400 in 1990 to 1,200 in 2010, while the number of finishers went from 303,000 to 1.3 million! Maybe they’ll add the half marathon to the Olympics in time for Rio in 2016.
Meanwhile, we continue to debate whether the name should be changed. Some people feel that a half of anything sounds like you didn’t really try, while others are perfectly happy with the name. What do you think: should we change it, and if so what should we call it?