PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has the slowest marathon runners worldwide, according to a study.
The State of Running 2019 study carried out by athletic shoe review site Run Repeat and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), analysed some 107.9 million race results from over 70,000 events.
The results include participants from 209 countries participating in running events between 1986 and 2018.
In the study, Malaysia was placed 'the slowest in half marathons (HM, 21km) and (full) marathons (FM, 42.195km).
The graphs showed in the study, showed Malaysia clocking in at an average of 2 hours, 36 minutes and 20 seconds for HM, and 5 hours, 46 minutes and 24 seconds for FM.
The top performer for HM is Russia with an average timing of 1 hour, 45 minutes, and 11 seconds, followed by Belgium (01:48:01) and Luxembourg (01:50:20), while Spain is the top performing country for FM with the timing of 3 hours, 53 minutes and 59 seconds, followed by Switzerland (03:55:12) and Portugal (03:59:31).
In the study for slowest nations in HM, Malaysia is joined by Thailand (02:24:56) and Vietnam (02:30:20), while Vietnam (05:19:34) and the Philippines (05:25:35) are amongst the slowest nations in the FM category.
However, the study noted that its dataset covers "96% of the United States race results, 91% of the race results from the European Union, Canada, and Australia and a smaller sample from Asian, Africa, and South America."
The Star decided to compare the results of top Malaysian runners for both FM and HM categories in two events: The Penang Bridge International Marathon 2018 and Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2018.
In the PBIM 2018, the top male Malaysian in the FM category is Nik Fakaruddin Ismail, who clocked in at 02:45:54, while the HM category top male Malaysian is S. Poovansanthan, who finished at 01:16:46.
The results can be viewed here
For the SCKLM 2018, the top male Malaysian in the FM category is Muhaizar Mohamad (02:37:03), while the top Malaysian man in the HM category is Anas Rosli (01:14:58), with the results viewable here
A typical FM held in Malaysia has a qualifying time of between seven hours and eight hours, while the qualifying time for a HM is usually between three hours, 30 minutes and four hours.
For example, The Penang Bridge International Marathon stated in its website that the qualifying time for its FM and HM categories are seven hours and three hours and 30 minutes respectively, while the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, the qualifying times are seven hours and 15 minutes, and three hours and 30 minutes for FM and HM categories respectively.
The PBIM 2019 will be held on Nov 24, at the Queensbay Mall outdoor carpark in Bayan Lepas, Penang, while SCKLM 2019 will be held on Sept 29 at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur.
Based on the results, the study came out with several conclusions, including:
>> 10km runs are popular in Asia, Africa and South America, while 5km runs and HM are popular in US and EU respectively.
>> For the first time in history, there are more female than male runners.
>> Male runners have never been slower.
>> Racing in non-English speaking countries is on the rise.
>> Motives for running are potentially changing.
More details of the results can be found here