How long does it take to run 5k?

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Whether you’re new to running, trying to get a personal best or you’re lacing up your trainers to start exercising again – everyone’s 5k time is different. 

If you’ve not run that far before, it can be a daunting challenge and it can be hard to know what you should be aiming for. 

Every runner is different and has varying levels of fitness, so it can be tricky to know what 5k time is achievable and worth striving for. 

With our tips, we can help you to understand what time to aim for during your next 5k fundraising race. 

If you’re taking on a 5k park run, running in an organised event or simply fundraising by running 5k in your spare time, having a goal time in mind can really help when raising funds. 

Trying to achieve a personal best when fundraising is a great way to motivate you when your legs are feeling tired and you want to stop. 

Keeping track of your timings is also a great way to let your donors know how you’re getting on and how the training is going. 

What is the average 5k time?

Running times can vary widely depending on a runner’s fitness, height and age. 

Other factors can influence speed, but there are some general average times which could be good to understand as you’re training. 

A state of running report found that both male and female runners perform best at a half marathon distance (13.2miles). 

The report also broke down average 1k and 5k times.

Its conclusions were as follows: 

  • Male: average 1k split time is 7:04
  • Male: average 5k finish time – 35:20
  • Female: average 1k split is – 8:18
  • Female: average 5k finish time – 41:30

What’s a good 5k time for your age?

As well as fitness levels, age plays a massive part in determining average 5k times. 

The average time to complete a 5k run varies for each age group. Data from the state of running report has provided helpful figures which provide an insight into different age groups. 

Sourced from US races, the data provides finish times and average times. 

Data taken from 2018 shows the following average 5k finish times: 

Age Group Men Women
<20 31:28 38:38
20-29 33:19 38:44
30-39 34:36 40:13
40-49 35:24 41:40
50-59 36:34 43:57
>60 40:42 48:41


Elite 5k times

It’s also good to put into context just how quick elite runners are. 

When competing at the Olympics, Sir Mo Farah was able to complete a 5k in an unbelievable time. 

At the London 2012 Olympics, he clocked a gold-medal winning time of 13:41.66, and in Rio in 2016, won the title again in an even quicker 13:03:30.

Tips for running a 5k fundraiser

If you’re new to running or training for an event, 5k is a great milestone to aim for. 

It may seem like miles away and something you may not be able to achieve, but with our tips about how to get into running, you can get there. 

See here for more tips about how to take those first steps. 

1. Time your training runs

Once you get comfortable running, it’s a great idea to time your runs and monitor your progress. 

Depending on the weather, how much you’ve eaten and how hydrated you are, some days you may be quicker and you may be slower. But overall, you will see your running times improve as the weeks go on. 

There’s a load of easy ways you can record your progress, including free fitness apps, stopwatches or fitness trackers. 

As your times improve, this can be a great motivator to keep going and keep training. 

Measuring your progress can also give you something to aim for when you run the 5k fundraiser.

2. Aim for a realistic finish time

When the time finally arrives for your fundraising run, try not to put too much pressure on yourself and your finish time. 

If this is one of your first events, or if you’re an inexperienced runner, try to aim for the best time you’ve set in training. 

You don’t need to be the person at the front of the race and if you’re having a slow day, that’s also ok. 

Set yourself a realistic goal and consult the times you’ve done in training. Try to think what the best average of these could be. 

3. Don’t rush the start

Many runners find their first 1k and last 1k can be much quicker than the rest of the run. 

With all the determination to finish and set off strong, sometimes you can tire yourself out before you’ve even reached 2k. 

Try to start off at a settled pace and build up to gradually going quicker once your breathing is in a good rhythm. 

Remember, on the day it may be crowded at the start line. You may not be able to go as quickly as you’d like, but it’s good to be patient in this situation. 

Try to treat it as any other run and remember you have a big distance to go.

4. Remember to warm up

With all the excitement of the race, it’s natural to just want to set off and get going. 

As your adrenaline is starting to build, it may feel boring or unnecessary to do all the adequate stretching before a run. 

It’s crucial you stretch and hydrate before a big period of exercise. You lessen the risk of injury and the chances of you being in pain afterward decrease massively. 

Once you’re stretched out, it’s also hugely important to warm up before a race to avoid injuring yourself. 

This can be anything from running on the spot, walking or loosening your body up. 

5. Enjoy the race

There’s so much to think about on the day like timings, warming up and the aftermath. 

But the most important thing is you enjoy the race. 

It’s something you’ve trained long and hard for, but it should be something you have good memories of after. 

Keep in mind the cause you’re raising funds for and how this race can help others. 

Written by olivia