2015 Battle of the Sexes

Race Navigator. January 15th, 2016
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540,000 runners. 1,200 marathons. 26.2 miles. 2 sexes. Who reigns supreme over the 2015 marathon season: men or women? Race Navigator takes a stab at answering this question by compiling the race data from over 1,200 U.S. marathons and pits men and women head-to-head in a face-off for racing dominance. The jury is still out as to which gender won, so help us find out by sharing this article and talking some trash with your running buddies online. Let the battle begin!

2015 Battle of the Sexes Marathon Infographic

The Percentages

Men have yet again outnumbered women at the finish lines by making up 56% of total race participants. Women held steady at 44%, but their typical 1% gain each year has come to a halt in 2015. Is this a sign that the men might reverse the trend and start to increase the gap again in 2016? Only time will tell.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Men 59% 59% 58% 57% 56% 56%
Women 41% 41% 42% 43% 44% 44%


Boston and NYC Qualifiers

Men have clearly outnumbered women in terms of total qualifiers for both Boston (30,000 vs 24,300) and New York City (9,100 vs 8,400). However, if you look at the number of qualifiers as a percentage of total finishers (we label it as ‘Percent of Finishers’ in the infographic to the left), the women prevailed for both Boston and NYC. So who's achievement is more impressive?  We’ll let you guys decide that one.

World Records

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya had the fastest men's 2015 marathon time coming in at 2:04:00. If you don’t have a calculator handy, that equates to a blazing average pace of 4:44 minutes per mile. For women, Gladys Cherono (also from Kenya) hit a time of 2:19:25. She crossed the finish line at a crazy-fast pace of 5:19 minutes per mile.

Finishing Times

Curious where you stand in the ranks? Check out the info-graphic to the left to see the 2015 Finish Time distribution. And if you want to see the averages back to 2010, take a look at the table below.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Men 4:26 4:24 4:27 4:27 4:31 4:34
Women 4:53 4:51 4:54 4:54 4:56 4:58
Overall 4:36 4:34 4:37 4:37 4:42 4:45


The Conclusion

While we’d really like to give a definitive answer to who won 2015’s Battle of the Sexes, it’s up to you to decide who took the crown of laurels. Or better yet, find out what your friends think by sharing these fun stats via social media. But before we end this report, let’s pay tribute to all the single runners out there and provide some statistics that Cupid himself would endorse. Let’s hope that the stats below will prove helpful to all of you guys and gals looking for that special running partner in the 2016 racing season.

Top Men/Women Marathons

Looking for love in all the wrong races?-- Pay attention because these events are for you! The Mountain Man Memorial March in Tennessee had the highest percentage of male runners (80% of 100 participants), while the Leading Ladies Marathon in South Dakota had the highest percentage of female runners (100% of 140 participants). If you can’t make it to either of those races this year, check out the top 5 races for men and women where you can lace up, dress to impress, and hopefully run into your match!

Highest % of Male Runners:   Highest % of Female Runners:
Marathon Percent   Marathon Percent
Mountain Man Memorial March 80%   Leading Ladies Marathon 100%
Whiteface Sky Marathon 78%   Blooms to Brews Marathon 62%
5 Points of Life Marathon 76%   Wineglass Marathon 62%
Yonkers Marathon 75%   Running for the Bay Marathon 62%
North Face Endurance Challenge 75%   Running with the Bears Marathon 61%

* List only includes races with 100 or more finishers.

Want More?

If you like these fun facts, we think you'll love our 2015 Marathon Report. It's chock-full of all sorts of nerdy marathon statistics and has some cool graphs/charts as well. Check it out!