How powerful is a London Marathon 2016 runner?

For 35 years now, thousands of determined feet have hit the streets of our capital in Britain’s most famous feat of endurance: the London Marathon.

This year, a record-breaking number of entrants will make the 2016 London Marathon 2016 the biggest yet – that’s a staggering amount of runners giving it 100% of their energy to hit the finish line.

Which begs the question: just how much energy does it take to run the London Marathon?

We sat down with a calculator and put it to the test. You may be surprised at just how powerful a marathon of runners can be…

london marathon, 2016, power, energy, calories

One small step for man

Common calculations say that your average runner burns around 100 kcals per mile (of course, this figure is likely to be larger for high-burners like Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah – but we’re passing the spotlight to your average runner here.)

As we know, the London Marathon is a sweaty 26.2 miles, from the start near Greenwich Park to the end at St James’ Park.

That totals 2,620 kcals burned throughout the marathon.

In civilian terms, that could be one average takeaway pizza, or over 7kg of broccoli if you’re on a clean-eating training diet.

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We can work out how much power this is by converting calories into a unit for measuring electricity – such as watts – and then again into a unit of power that you would commonly see on an energy bill (such as kWh).

Using these conversions, 2,620 kcal equates to 3.045 kWh.

Which is approximately…

wind turbine, energy, power, consumption, london marathon 2016The amount of power a small (6kW) wind turbine in a windy location could produce in an hour (based on 50% capacity factor)

 

smart phone, power, energy, consumption, London Marathon 2016How much power it takes to charge your smart phone for a whole year

 

lightbulb, energy, power, consumption, London Marathon 2016The consumption of a 40W energy-saving lightbulb running for 76 hours straight

 

Big picture: The whole London Marathon

This year, 247,069 people applied to run the London Marathon 2016 (a record-breaking number of applications for the 35th anniversary!)

If one person uses an equivalent 3.045 kWh of energy to run a marathon, that means that if everyone ran, the total amount of energy consumed by the whole marathon on 24 April will be…

752.3mWh

How does that stack up?

Well, a house in the UK uses an average of 4,000 kWh a year in electricity.

Meaning the whole of the London Marathon could exert the equivalent energy needed to power 188 houses for a year. 

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london marathon, 2016, race, power, energy, consumptionMore fun marathon numbers

The global average time for finishing a marathon – that is, for non-elite runners – in 2014 was 4hr 21min and 21 seconds

water, London Marathon, 2016, hydration, energyA runner is recommended to drink at least 4oz of water for every 20 minutes of running (and that’s if you’re hitting a slow to average speed – you can double that amount if you’re a fast runner). That’s 1.9 litres in total.
If you think that’s a lot, it’s roughly the same as the amount of liquids a marathon runner will sweat during the course of a race

But what does it feel like to run a marathon?

It’s not all about the numbers. For a true first-hand account of what it’s like to use up every ounce of your strength, we asked an Opus Energy employee for an exclusive account. Here’s what they had to say about marathon running:

“The first half is fun. The last half is hell.”

You heard it here first, folks.

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