In less than two weeks, around 30,000 runners will participate in the Marine Corps Marathon, which is now the fifth largest 26.2-mile race of its kind in the U.S., trailing behind New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles. Nearly half of these MCM runners are first-time marathoners.
When Oprah ran in this race in 1994, she was a marathoning newbie who finished in a respectable time of 4:29.20. As one of the first celebrities to run in a marathon, she helped fuel a tremendous surge in marathon mania among all demographic sectors — young, old, fit, overweight, ex-jocks, men, women.
Type “Oprah’s marathon time” in a Google search, and you will have 27,000 results!
It also seemingly appears that many runners, men especially, want to be able to say that they “beat Oprah’s time.” In fact, the average finishing time of a male marathoner (in all races) today is 4:27; for women it’s 4:54.
In 1997, former Vice President Al Gore completed the Marine Corps Marathon in 4:58:25.