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Rio marathon times could be well off world record times

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A ParaSport News analysis of historic best times of marathon results by year and classification suggests that the times likely to be put up at the Rio Games are likely to be well off world record times.  They also indicate that T52, T53 and T54 racers will continue the long historical trend of putting up times faster than their Olympic counterparts, while vision impaired racers are on the men’s side will be a half hour slower than their Olympic counterparts and the women’s side will be around 45 minutes to an hour slower.


The men’s event in Rio includes the T12 class, open to T11 and T12 racers, the T46 class, open to T45 and T46 competitors, and the T54 class, open to T53, T53 and T54 racers. The current world record in the men’s T11 class is a time of 02:31:59 set by Italy’s Andrea Cionna in Rome in 2007. The world record for the T12 marathon was set by Morocco’s El Amin Chentouf at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in London.  The best T12 marathon time so far this year recorded by the IPC was a time of 2:27:24.  Other times put up this year have also been slow. Japan’s Yutaka Kumagai posted a time of 2:33:2 in winning a World Cup event in April.

In the T46 event, Spain’s Abderrahman Ait Khamouch set the current world record of 2:26:54 at the 2015 IPC World Championships in London.  This is the one class where the world record could be seriously threatened as the best time so far this year is 2:27:07 set by China’s Chaoyan Li.  Brazil’s Alex Pires Da Silva was also inside the 2 hour and 27 minute window.

The T54 world record time is 01:20:14, set by Switzerland’s Heinz Frei in 1999.  The best times in the world this year were set by South Africa’s Ernst Francois van Dyk, Australia’s Kurt Fearnley, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, Thailand’s Rawat Tana, Thailand’s Prawat Wahoram, Russia’s Aleksei Bychenok and Japan’s Masazumi Soejima.  None bettered van Dyk’s time of 1:24:06.  The world record seems likely to remain.

The situation is similar on the women’s side where the events in Rio include the T12, open to T11 and T12 racers, and  T54 class, open to T53, T53 and T54 racers.   The world record in the T12 class was set by Russia’s  Elena Pautova with a time of 2:58:23 at last year’s IPC Athletics World Championships.  Brazil’s Edneusa de Jesus Santos Dorta has the best year to date time of 3:03:07.  Japan’s Misato Michishita is inside the same minute window, but no one else is even remotely close to them.  The world record in the T54 class was set by Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida and Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer at the same marathon in Japan in 2013 when they crossed at the same second with a time of 1:38:07. Tsuchida holds the best time so far in 2016 at 1:41:04, three seconds off her world record time.  It seems possible but unlikely she’ll better this in Rio. American Tatyana McFadden was within a second of her time at the same marathon.  The two could push each other to beat that record.

Much of this speculation about the lack of potential world records is backed by times coming out of the Rio test event and other marathons held in Brazil in 2016.  These times have consistently been well off world record pace.   They support the idea that Rio is likely to be a bit slower than other marathons, even among elite racers.  At the same time, all IPC marathon world records were either set in Asia or Europe.  None were set in Oceania, Africa or the Americas.



Class 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Men’s Marathon 2:03:05 2:04:00 2:02:57 2:03:23 2:04:15 2:03:38 2:04:48 2:04:27
Men’s Deaf Marathon 2:24:45 2:11:31 2:14:00 2:28:31
Men’s Marathon T11 2:33:46 2:44:02 2:35:39 2:39:55 2:36:32 2:37:57 2:35:40 2:56:55
Men’s Marathon T12 2:27:24 2:21:33 2:25:07 2:24:00 2:23:24 2:25:01 2:35:55 2:48:10
Men’s Marathon T13 2:32:52 2:26:47 2:54:25 2:48:34
Men’s Marathon T34 2:18:10
Men’s Marathon T42 3:15:53 3:05:23 2:42:54
Men’s Marathon T44 3:04:24 3:07:10 3:42:04
Men’s Marathon T45 2:43:30
Men’s Marathon T46 2:27:07 2:26:54 2:35:45 2:32:06 2:25:43 2:30:59 2:31:57 2:34:00
Men’s Marathon T51 3:11:57 2:30:43 2:28:04 2:37:15 2:30:59 2:29:36 2:32:36
Men’s Marathon T52 1:55:28 1:48:01 1:47:29 1:46:09 1:50:48 1:50:25 1:45:53 1:47:37
Men’s Marathon T53 1:29:39 1:29:00 1:24:49 1:24:19 1:22:55 1:29:06 1:23:31 1:25:46
Men’s Marathon T54 1:23:32 1:20:36 1:18:25 1:18:50 1:23:28 1:26:12
Women’s Marathon 2:19:41 2:19:25 2:18:57 2:19:57 2:18:37 2:18:20 2:20:25 2:22:11
Women’s Deaf Marathon 3:16:59 3:30:36
Women’s Marathon T11 3:13:15 3:26:18 3:28:35 3:21:07
Women’s Marathon T12 3:03:07 2:58:23 2:59:21 3:06:32
Women’s Marathon T13 2:52:05
Women’s Marathon T52 2:13:43 2:30:52 2:21:16
Women’s Marathon T53 1:55:58 1:45:33 1:44:34 1:38:58 1:36:39 1:39:31 1:44:38 1:43:33
Women’s Marathon T54 1:41:04 1:40:46 1:35:06 1:37:37 1:34:06 1:44:40 1:39:35
Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2569 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees. She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra.

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