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The time limit in a marathon indicates the maximum time that participants have to reach the finish of the marathon.

The lower the time limit, the greater the risk that marathon runners will have to drop out already during the race. However, there is no fixed time limit for all marathon events. This can be set by the race organizer. It is noticeable that the limits at European events are usually a bit stricter than, for example, in the United States of America.

Runners who run in the back of the pack, however, not only have to respect the time limit for finishing, but also the broom trail. In the course of a marathon, sections of the course that are part of the first half of the race are reopened to traffic earlier than sections towards the end of the race.

For example, if the time limit for a marathon is 6 hours, then the first half of the course is often closed after about 3 hours (except, of course, for circuits). In large city marathons, the so-called broom wagon is responsible for this. All runners who are overtaken by this vehicle are not allowed to continue the marathon. They are officially taken out of the race. Theoretically, they could continue to run behind the broom wagon at their own risk, but they will no longer be scored for the marathon.

Slow marathon runners should therefore find out in advance what the time limit is set by the marathon organizer. This page summarizes the time limits of all major marathon events.

Speed table - time limit

Those who run a marathon usually record the running distance and running time with a running watch or running app. Accordingly, participants should be informed in advance what pace per kilometer must be run in order to be guaranteed to successfully complete the 42.195 kilometers before the finish line.

The following pace table indicates the minimum pace in minutes per kilometer that must be run for a given marathon time:

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Cut offPace min/kmmi/km
04:00:00 05:41 09:10
04:30:00 06:24 10:18
05:00:00 07:00 11:17
05:30:00 07:49 12:36
05:45:00 08:11 13:10
06:00:00 08:32 13:44
06:15:00 08:53 14:19
06:30:00 09:15 14:53
07:00:00 09:57 16:02
08:00:00 11:23 18:19
09:00:00 12:48 20:37


Time limit of major international marathons

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