How long does it take to run 100 miles? How would you fare in a 100 miles ultra? What are the world records for running 100 miles?
The third question is a lot easier to answer, the first and second requires a bit more nuance such as lifestyle factors, age, experience, training and terrain of the race.
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the weird and wonderful world of running 100 miles, by the end of it, you should have a good idea of what time to aim for in a 100 miles ultramarathon.
Average Time For Running 100 Miles
The average running time for running 100 miles according to race reports from the USA for elite adults is around 13 hours.
It’s important to note that this particular time is for talented, super-fit athletes at the peak of their lives in terms of performance and age (18-35 years old) and interestingly, there isn’t a great deal of difference in time between the genders at the top, with women closing the gap in ultra races, especially above 100 miles.
We will take a look at the mind-blowing world records for running 100 miles later in this post.
If like me, you are a beginner (other than my Marathon des Sables experience a few years before) I ran over 100 miles with only 3 months of preparation and the average time for us weekend warriors is 22 hours and if you’re reaching the twilight years (the 40s and above) the average running time for 100 miles is around 28 hours.
Middle-of-the-pack runners averages around 16 hours whereas advanced runners are about one hour faster on average.
How To Run 100 Miles in 24 Hours
To run 100 miles in 24 hours you should aim for a pace of 12 minutes per mile (16km per hour).
Running 100 miles is no joke, especially if you don’t consider yourself elite or advanced. However, if you’re in solid ultra shape and have a couple of ultramarathon experiences under your belt, you may have your eyes on the 100 miles in 24 hours prize.
The 12-minute per mile pace is sustainable and manageable if you have a bulletproof mindset and have followed a competent 100 mile ultramarathon training plan for at least 6 months.
This pacing time also factors in breaks for refuelling and bathroom breaks. Although it may seem slow to those used to 5 and 10k runs, or even half marathons – this pace is very respectable for running an ultra and you might be surprised how much it can hurt running at this seemingly slow speed when you’re close to exhaustion.
Running 100 miles in 24 hours is still a goal of mine…stay tuned for the announcement of that challenge.
Do You Sleep During a 100 Mile Run?
Most people don’t sleep during a 100 mile run, but a significant minority of runners negotiate with a micro nap or two to get them over the finish line.
Above is a picture of me on the side of the road during my ultramarathon. Although I am smiling, I am crying inside and just want it to be over. It was actually mile 90 of 123 miles and I decided to rest my head for 10 minutes after being on the move for what felt like an eternity.
The merciless Thai sun was beating down on my weary body and the idea of 33 more miles seemed almost impossible. Although my ego felt like I was “cheating,” I reminded myself this run was for a charity and that simply completing a 100 mile race was a massive milestone for me.
Do People Walk During a 100 MIle Race?
Yes, people walk during a 100 miles race and there is no shame in this.
I would say that the majority of people walk during a 100 miles race unless they are elite athletes or advanced and well-primed.
You will need to hydrate and refuel (then there’s the poo lottery that you sometimes win) so if you are going for a time, be aware of your pace and when you walk make sure it’s with a bit of kick to get you closer to that finish line.
World Records For 100 Miles Ultramarathons
All of the following times are of course officially recorded times. I do suspect that some famous running tribes such as the Tarahumara people of Mexico. or the Kalenjin tribe of Kenya might have unconfirmed faster records for a few.
After having a crack at this distance myself, I can’t begin to fathom the times written below and I have so much respect for these people and their grind. I really do look at them as superhuman:
Fastest 100 Miles Ultramarathon (Male)
Sania Sorokin of Russia holds the current world record for fastest man over 100 miles at 11 hours, 19 minutes, 13 seconds. For a point of reference that is 6:31 running pace over 100 miles.
That’s just offensive!
He broke the record held in 2019 by almost five minutes, dethroning Zach Bitter of the USA.
Fastest 100 Miles Ultramarathon (Female)
Camille Herron of the USA holds the ladies’ current world record with a saucy time of 12 hours, 41 minutes and 11 seconds.
She broke her own previous record in 2018 in Nevada at an outrageous pace of 7:37 minutes per mile over 100 miles.
It’s not her only running record, the “Queen of Ultra Running” has a seriously impressive running resume of achievements. You can follow this inspiring athlete on Insta here: @runcamille
Youngest Person To Complete A 100 Miles Ultramarathon
Colby Wentlandt of the USA is the youngest person to complete a 100-miler, clocking in at an impressive 32 hours, 7 minutes and 30 seconds in Las Vegas when he was 12 years old. What a little champ!
Oldest Person To Complete A 100 Miles Ultramarathon
Nick Bassett of the USA holds the record as the oldest finisher of a 100-mile ultra, finishing the Western States Endurance Run at 29 hours, 9 minutes and 42 seconds at the ripe age of 73 years old!
Summary: How Long Does it Take To Run 100 Miles?
As you can see from this article, there is a wide range of 100 miles running times depending on the person.
After running one myself, I have nothing but respect for people who complete a 100-mile run at any time at all. I should imagine that it’s pretty treacherous on your body even if you did it on a flat track in cool weather, but most ultrarunners are suckers for punishment and choose to run one in hilly terrain in extreme weather!
Most of the success behind running a 100 miles ultra is the preparation, so be sure to check out my ultimate guide: how to run 100 miles and my ultra marathon packing list to mentally and physically prepare you for 100 miles of blood, sweat, tears and glory!
I left no stone unturned in this guide.
Hopefully the next time someone asks you how long it takes to run 100 miles – you will have a clear and concise answer ready because you will have your own time and experience as a point of reference!