Top long-distance recreational runners are Slovenians
The Runnerclick website study surveyed 2.9 million recreational runners during 784 marathons in 39 countries. Both Slovenian women and men turned out to be the best in their respective categories.
The average time clocked by Slovenian women was four hours, 10 minutes, and 10 seconds, while Slovenian men averaged three hours, 51 minutes, and five seconds.
The second place went to Ukrainian runners, who were almost three minutes behind Slovenians regarding their joint average time, and followed by the Spanish ones.
The average time of all participants was four hours, 26 minutes, and 28 seconds.
The Ljubljana marathon, the biggest Slovenian running event, proved to be one of the fastest marathons, taking the sixth place with an average time of three hours, 54 minutes, and 34 seconds.
Researchers collected the data on recreational runners by excluding all professional athletes and runners averaging less than two hours and 30 minutes among men and two hours and 45 minutes among women. They only took into account the runners' age, gender, and nationality details.
The results also showed that the number of marathon runners has been slightly decreasing in the recent years (by more than 3% in 2014-2017). The Ljubljana marathon was attended by fewer runners in the past two years as well.
The reduced number could be due to demographic changes or the fact that some runners have been focusing on smaller, less competitive, and more nature-focused events.
The share of women runners has increased a bit (almost 35% of them), because the number of men runners dropped at a faster pace than that of women.
The most significant drop in numbers was noted among runners aged 20-29 (by 12%), while runners aged 40-49 (around 30%) took part in most marathons.