Fastest Half Marathon: Achievements, Records, and Tips for Success 2024

When it comes to half marathons, achieving a fast finishing time is a goal many runners aspire to reach. In recent years, we’ve seen some truly astonishing world records being set in this popular race distance. It’s important to understand how these athletes have pushed the boundaries of human performance, and how we can apply their insights to improve our own running experiences.

The current men’s fastest half marathon world record holder is Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda, who completed the race in an amazing 57:31 at the Lisbon Half Marathon on 21 November 2021. For women, Letesenbet Gidey holds the record with an incredible time of 1:02:52, set on 24 October 2021 at the Valencia Half Marathon.

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History of Fastest Half Marathon Records

We’ve seen some incredible half marathon records throughout the years.

🏃 Ron Hill set the earliest men’s half marathon world record in 1965 with a time of 65:44, while Marty Cooksey set the women’s record in 1978 at 75:04.

🏃‍♀️ In 1991, Arturo Barrios became the first man to run the half marathon distance in under one hour, covering 21.101 km within that time.

🏃 Ugandan runner Jacob Kiplimo set the current half marathon world record for men with an impressive time of 57:31 at the Lisbon Half Marathon on November 21, 2021.

🏃‍♀️ Kiplimo’s record equates to an average pace of 4:23 per mile or 2:44 per kilometer.

🏃 Running USA reported in 2008 that half marathons are the fastest-growing type of race, reflecting the significant growth in their popularity.

Sebastian Gradl after Running Wertach X-Run

“It’s always nice to see how you’re getting better. If it’s me against myself and in the end I was faster then I’m happy and proud.”

As we continue to follow the progress of these incredible athletes, let us keep our eyes on the horizon for even faster times and new world records in the half marathon world.

The Fastest Half Marathon

fastest half marathon Man and woman train together
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As avid runners and marathon enthusiasts ourselves, we decided to explore the world of the fastest half marathons. Runners all over the world participate in half marathons, using them as a chance to challenge themselves, improve their pace, and enjoy the thrill of running.

🏃‍♂️ Fastest Half Marathon World Records

Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo and Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey hold the fastest half marathon world records, with impressive times of 57:31 and 1:02:52, respectively.

🌟 Recommended Half Marathons for PR-Seekers

Reputable events like the Fontana Days Half Marathon, known for its incredibly fast course, are recommended for those seeking personal records.

🚀 Notable Speedy Half Marathons

Locations such as the Istanbul Half Marathon, Tokyo Marathon, Valencia Half Marathon, Rotterdam Marathon, Route du Vin Half Marathon, Birmingham Half Marathon, Tempe Half Marathon, Milan Half Marathon, and Philadelphia Half Marathon offer lightning-fast courses for runners seeking exciting challenges and personal achievements.

Legendary Figures in Fastest Half Marathon

fastest half marathon Man entering finish line
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We can’t talk about achievements in half marathon without mentioning some legendary figures who’ve left their mark in the history of this challenging discipline. In this section, we’ll highlight a few of those incredible athletes who’ve become synonymous with the fastest half marathon times and records.

🏅 Men’s Half Marathon Legends

  • Jacob Kiplimo: Holds the current men’s half marathon world record with a time of 57:31, set in 2021.
  • Kibiwott Kandie: Former record holder before Jacob Kiplimo.
  • Geoffrey Kamworor: Broke the record twice in 2014 and 2018.

👑 Women’s Half Marathon Legends

  • Letesenbet Gidey: Holds the current women’s half marathon world record with a time of 1:02:52, set in 2021.
  • Ruth Chepngetich: Former record holder before Letesenbet Gidey.
  • Peres Jepchirchir: Held the world record in 2020.

🌟 Other Remarkable Athletes

  • Brigid Kosgei: Holder of the women’s marathon world record.
  • Grete Waitz: Notable achievements in the New York City Marathon.
  • Paula Radcliffe: Former record holder in both the marathon and half marathon.

🥇 Enduring Legends

  • Haile Gebrselassie: Ethiopian distance running legend.
  • Tirunesh Dibaba: Ethiopian record-setter in various distance disciplines.

Although we’ve briefly mentioned some outstanding athletes, the list of legendary figures in the half marathon world is much longer. Each of these individuals has made remarkable contributions to the sport, and their talent and dedication continue to inspire future generations of runners.

The Significance of PR in Half Marathons

fastest half marathon Woman entering finish line
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  • Achieving a personal record (PR) in a half marathon is a significant accomplishment for many runners, representing progress and growth in their running journey.
  • While world records are impressive, setting a PR is a personal goal that holds great importance to individual runners.
  • Half marathon training focuses on increasing speed and endurance, leading to a transformation that makes runners more disciplined, focused, and ultimately, better athletes.
  • Achieving a PR during a half marathon signifies that hard work has paid off and serves as motivation to continue pushing personal limits.
  • Chasing personal records is an incredible achievement for most runners, highlighting their mental and physical strength in overcoming challenges during the race.
  • Celebrating PRs, regardless of the scale of improvement, is crucial as it builds confidence and reassures runners that their training is effective, motivating them to aim higher.
“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you could do it”
– Priscilla Welsh

Influence of Location on Fastest Half Marathon

fastest half marathon Women training on road
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When it comes to running a half marathon, the location can have a significant impact on your performance. In this section, we’ll discuss how location factors into your half marathon experience and highlight a few courses worldwide.

flat and fast course can make all the difference in achieving a personal best, while a hillier terrain may provide a more challenging run.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular locations:

🏙 Lisbon

Known for its hilly nature and beautiful cityscape, Lisbon offers a challenging half marathon course for runners who are up for the test. Besides, the pleasant climate makes for a comfortable running experience.

🌆 Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love boasts a relatively flat course, allowing runners to focus on their pacing and enjoy the historical city views. Philadelphia’s temperate weather in the fall also makes it an excellent choice for a half marathon.

🕌 Istanbul

Running between two continents may sound exciting, but that’s not all Istanbul has to offer. With a mix of flat roads and rolling hills, this city provides an ideal course for both beginner and experienced runners seeking a unique experience.

🏜 Tempe

The heart of Arizona, Tempe’s weather might be hot, but it’s also home to a mostly flat course, perfect for those seeking a fast race. The scenic desert backdrop adds to the charm of this location.

🏖 Valencia

Regarded as the birthplace of paella, Valencia offers runners a flat course that runs through the city’s historical sites and scenic Mediterranean coastline, making it a fantastic spot for a memorable race.

Understanding the International Association of Athletics Federations

  • The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now known as World Athletics, has been the international governing body for the sport of athletics since its establishment in 1912.
  • World Athletics plays a crucial role in ratifying world records, including those in half marathon events, ensuring the accurate documentation and verification of the fastest half marathon times.
  • Since January 1, 2004, World Athletics has officially recognized a total of five men’s world records and six women’s world records in half marathons.
  • The Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS) is another significant organization dedicated to ensuring the accuracy and validity of running statistics, particularly focusing on road races.
  • The collaboration between World Athletics and ARRS contributes to the recognition of athletes’ achievements and the continued growth and development of the sport of road racing.

Role of Gender in Fastest Half Marathon

fastest half marathon Man training on the road
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We’ve noticed that gender plays a significant role in the fastest half marathon performances. Both men and women have achieved impressive records in this sporting event. In our analysis, we’ll discuss some top athletes who have made a mark in half marathons and how their accomplishments highlight the role of gender in their respective performances.

🏃‍♂️ Male Half Marathon Achievements

Uta Pippig stands out as a prominent male runner who has excelled in numerous half marathons, serving as an inspiration for aspiring athletes.

🏃‍♀️ Female Half Marathon Achievements

Athletes like Mary Keitany, Grete Waitz, and Paula Radcliffe have demonstrated exceptional prowess in distance running, serving as role models for female runners worldwide.

🌟 Recent Female Dominance

Ruth Chepngetich, Peres Jepchirchir, Brigid Kosgei, and Joyciline Jepkosgei have emerged as exceptional female runners, showcasing the strength and determination of women in pushing the boundaries of half marathon events.

🚹🚺 Gender’s Impact on Half Marathon Performances

The accomplishments of both male and female athletes in half marathons emphasize the significance of acknowledging and celebrating the role of gender in these sporting events. Studying these athletes can provide valuable insights into gender-specific performance outcomes, benefiting all runners.

By acknowledging and recognizing the accomplishments of these extraordinary athletes, we aim to inspire and motivate future generations of runners to push their limits and reach new heights in the world of distance running.

Our 4 Tips for Fastest Half Marathon

Dennis Heinrich Mallorca Marathon 24.10.2023

Following a well-structured training plan that includes a mix of long runs, speed work, and tempo runs can help improve your overall speed and endurance to run your fastest half marathon.”

Fueling your body with the right nutrients and staying hydrated before, during, and after your training runs and the race itself can significantly impact your performance.

Sebastian Gradl after Running a Charity Run 09.2023
Dennis Heinrich after Mallorca Marathon 10.2023 Bild1

Adequate rest and recovery are essential for allowing your body to adapt and grow stronger. Incorporating rest days into your training schedule and prioritizing sleep can help prevent fatigue and potential injuries.”

Develop a race strategy that includes pacing yourself effectively, taking advantage of downhill sections, and maintaining mental focus throughout the race for your fastest half marathon.

Sebastian Gradl 27.101.2023


What is the fastest half marathon time for a man?

The fastest half marathon time for a man is 57 minutes and 31 seconds, set by Ugandan runner Jacob Kiplimo on November 21, 2021, during the Lisbon Half Marathon.

How fast is a 2 hour half marathon?

A 2-hour half marathon equates to an average pace of approximately 9 minutes and 10 seconds per mile.

Why are Kenyans so fast?

Kenyan distance-running success is attributed to various factors including high-altitude training, a culture of running, genetic predisposition, and a tradition of long-distance running from a young age. Additionally, Kenyan runners often have a lean build and efficient running biomechanics, contributing to their success in distance running events.

What is your option on Fastest Half Marathon? I would love to hear it in the comments. I’m sure you also like reading about Half Marathon Calorie Burn or our Marathon Checklist.

Sebastian Gradl 26.09.2023
Sebastian Gradl

Nice to meet you, I´m Sebastian Gradl!

I write the articles on

I hope I can awaken your passion for running too and would be happy to take you on the runfitjourney!

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