Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Fitness & Exercise

Running races 101: Deciphering miles vs. kilometers

See also

Running may seem simple, but race lengths can be confusing. Some are measured in kilometers, while others are clocked in miles. Favorite races include the 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon. The last two stretch for miles, while the first two are set in kilometers.

The perennial debate runs on and on in running groups.

How can runners keep these numbers straight?

In the international running arena and for world record purposes, races are generally defined according to the metric system. However, the marathon (and the half marathon) may still use miles to determine their durations.

According to running lore, the marathon’s odd length traces back to ancient Greece, matching the distance from Marathon to Athens.

This makes running event distances somewhat tricky to track.

Check out this list of popular race lengths. Feel free to bookmark the page for future reference.

  • 200 meters = 1/8 mile
  • 400 meters = 1/4 mile
  • 800 meters = 1/2 mile
  • 1,600 meters = 1 mile
  • 5K (5 kilometers) = 3.1 miles
  • 10K (10 kilometers) = 6.2 miles
  • 15K (15 kilometers) = 9.3 miles
  • 20K (20 kilometers) = 12.4 miles
  • 21.08 kilometers = 13.1 miles = Half Marathon
  • 25K (25 kilometers) = 15.53 miles
  • 30K (30 kilometers) = 18.6 miles
  • 42.16 kilometers = 26.2 miles = Marathon

Standard running tracks, such as those found on high school and college campuses, are 1/4 mile around (one lap).

This content is copyrighted. Please feel free to share the http/link, but no cut-and-paste copying or republishing without permission of the Milwaukee Running Examiner.

For daily run trackers, here’s what the basic lineup looks like, mile by mile.

Kilometers Miles

0.5 0.310

1 0.62

2 1.24

3 1.86

4 1.48

5 3.10

6 3.72

7 4.34

8 4.97

9 5.59

10 6.21

11 6.83

12 7.45

13 8.07

14 8.69

15 9.32

20 12.42

25 15.53

30 18.64

35 21.74

40 24.85

45 27.96

50 31.06

You are invited to join/”like” the Running Examiner – Milwaukee and More page on Facebook – for information, inspiration, and news for runners in our region.

In miles or kilometers, going the distance may all that counts for persistent runners.

Advertisement

Life

  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    Camera
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    Camera
    9 Photos