Marathons: Athletes vs. Commandos!

In the 2015 London marathon, times to complete the 26.2 mile (42.16 km) course varied depending on whether the runners were elite or non-elite:

  • Elite Men:
    • 2:04:29 by Wilson Kipsang in 2014.
    • 2:03:05 by Eliud Kipchoge in 2016
  • Elite Women:
    • 2:15:25 by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.
  • Non-Elite:
    • Finishing with a time of between two and three hours in 2015 would have put you in the:
      • Top 8% of men; and
      • Top 1% of women.
    • If you made it to the end by four hours, you were in the:
      • Top 47% of men; and
      • Top 22% of women.
    • 3 hours 48 mins is the average time for male finishers.
    • 4 hours 23 mins is the average time for female finishers.
    • For men (on average):
      • 47% finish in less than 3 hours.
      • 83.8% finish in less than 4 hours.
      • 96.7% finish in less than 6 hours.

For military personnel attending the Royal Marines Recruit Course, the Royal Marines Young Officer Course, and the All Arms Commando Course, the qualification standard for the Commando equivalent (the 30-miler (48.2 km)) was set at:

  • 8 hours for Royal Marines recruits and All Arms candidates; and
  • 7 hours for Royal Marines Young Officers.

Now, you might think that is not very fast, but you have to consider that military personnel on the Commando course are carrying:

  • Webbing weighing approximately 25 lbs;
  • Personal weapon weighing approximately 9 lbs; and
  • Share the carrying of ‘safety stores’ or emergency kit (which adds another 10-15 lbs).

Trainee Commandos who complete the distance in:

  • 8 hours travel at approximately 3.75 mph;
  • 7 hours travel at approximately 4.28 mph.
  • 6 hours travel at approximately 5.00 mph.
Royal Marines 30-miler Route Map

The 30-miler is a tactical navigation endurance march with each candidate carrying their personal weapon and equipment.

It commences at Okehampton Camp, Dartmoor National Park (across Dartmoor Training Area, DTA), Devon and finishes at Shaugh Prior Bridge, a location near Plymouth Airport.

The 30-miler can be trace back to the original Commando training conducted at Achnacarry during World War II. The aim of the 30-miler is a fast paced march which simulates a Commando extraction from a target to a seaborne pickup point.

Run Hive has a tool which combines both an age-graded calculator and a equivalent performances calculator into one if you wish to know how your marathon time (or any other time/distance) compares with other runners.


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