Completing a 10k race is a fantastic accomplishment on its own, but if you have a competitive streak in you, you’ll want to know how your 10k time compares to others.
While it’s not always positive to compare yourself to others, knowing how close to a “good 10k time” you are can motivate you to train harder.
The answer to “what is a good 10k time?” is subjective. It depends on your fitness, gender, age, ability, and experience as a runner. On average, a 10k takes 50 to 70 minutes. Generally, a good 10k time is considered anywhere below 50 minutes for men and below 55 minutes for women.
The definition of “good” varies between individuals.
A “good” 10k time for someone who’s doing their first 10k race is very different to a “good” time for an elite athlete. Therefore, it is more helpful to compare your race time with people who are of similar age, gender, and ability to you.
What Is A Good 10k Time For A Beginner Runner?
If you are new to running and have just tackled your first 5k, training for a 10k (6.2 mile) is a great way to increase your endurance, strength, and speed. But to set realistic training goals, you should know the average time it takes for people who are reasonably fit to run a 10k.
Considering that the average beginner runner (someone who has been running for a month) can uphold a 12 to 15 minutes per mile pace, it should take someone about 70 to 90 minutes to run their first 10k.
Therefore, for a man who is running his first 10k, a good time would be around 70 minutes. For a woman who is new to running, a good 10k time would be about 90 minutes.
Good 10k Times For A Novice
When we say novice runner, we’re talking about a person who has been running on a regular basis for 6 months to a year.
On average, it takes a novice runner between 54 and 80 minutes to complete a 10k. That requires a pace of between 8.5 and 13 miles to be maintained.
Therefore, for a novice male runner, a good 10k time is around 54 minutes, and for a novice female, a good 10k time is around 80 minutes.
Good 10k Times For Intermediate Runners
Intermediate runners are, in this case, individuals who have run on a semi-regular basis for long enough to get in good athletic shape. It takes the average intermediate runner 47 to 55 minutes to complete a 10k race.
If you consider yourself an intermediate runner, a good goal to set for your 10k time is around 47 minutes if you’re a man or 55 minutes if you’re a woman. That would require a consistent pace of between 7.5 and 8.8 minutes per mile.
Good 10k Times For Club Runners
Club runners are naturally a diverse bunch, so we’re pooling the ‘competitive average’ in this next category. A good club runner might take between 43 and 50 minutes to finish a 10k. This requires one to maintain a pace of 7 to 8 minutes per mile.
It’s important to note here – once you dip below 43 minutes, you really can be satisfied that you have a “good 10K time” compared to the average non-runner.
From here on out, every minute you take off your time is going to be exponentially difficult, and will require a much more rigorous training plan.
Good 10k Time For Advanced Runners
When we say “advanced”, we are talking about runners who have dedicated significant time and miles to competitive running training. These athletes are 95% faster than most runners.
Advanced runners take, on average, between 36 and 43 minutes to finish a 10k. That requires a consistent pace of between 6 and 7 minutes per mile!
Therefore, for advanced male runners, a 10k time of 36 minutes or less can be considered good, and for advanced female runners, a time of 43 minutes or less can be considered good.
Of course, it’s all subjective.
Age Is An Important Factor!
Keep in mind that age has a massive influence on one’s 10k time. Men have their fastest 10k times when they are between 20 and 30 years old. Women have their fastest 10k times at around 25 years of age.
Older runners (aged 65+) generally tend to run at a slower average pace, regardless of their level of running experience.
For example, novice male runners aged between 65 and 90 take between 70 and 120 minutes to run a 10k. In contrast, novice male runners between the ages of 20 and 50 take anywhere from 54 minutes to an hour to complete a 10k.
If you are older than 60, be mindful not to compare your 10k time to that of the average runner!
What Is The Fastest 10k Time Ever Run?
In October 2020, Joshua Cheptegai from Uganda set the world record for the fastest ever 10k for a man. His 10k time was 26 minutes and 11 seconds.
The world record for the fastest 10k time for women was set in June 2021 by Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia. Her 10k time was 29 minutes and 1 second.
Interestingly, the world record for the fastest 10k in the 90+ age category is similar to the average time a beginner to novice runner takes to complete a 10k!
For men, this record is 58:04 minutes, and for women, it is 1:14:28 hours!
What Is A Good 10K Time?
Knowing how your 10k time stacks up against the global average for your gender and age category is useful – you can then use a pacing chart to set targets, or to pace your next 10K.
It can give you a realistic idea of what goals you can set for yourself. If you have only been running for a month or two – and need to get in shape first – it’s no good making your 10k time goal under an hour.
A “good” 10k time depends on the individual.
Factors like age, gender, fitness, and running experience all influence the average 10k time and what is considered a “good” 10k time. Make wise comparisons!
For beginner runners, a good 10k time is between 70 to 90 minutes. For intermediate runners, a good 10k time is around 47 to 55 minutes. And if your name is Joshua Cheptegai, only less than 27 minutes will do!