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The UK Has The Fastest Runners In The World (At Least According To Strava)

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Now that Jessica Ennis-Hill has retired, aside from Mo Farah, us Brits haven’t had much success when it comes to running at the elite level.

Fortunately, where our pros are failing, UK amateurs are smashing it, with the Strava (opens in new tab) running stats for 2016 showing that Brits top the world charts when it comes to average speed.

Sure, this might be largely down to Strava being yet to really catch on in the African countries that dominate the Olympics, but it’s important to take success where you can find it.

Both men and women in the UK rank number one for average pace per km, with UK men clocking 5:13/km and women 6:07/km. All those who have recorded a run with Strava this year can raise a glass to themselves this Christmas, as they’ve contributed to putting the UK on top.

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Coming in second for men is Spain, with 5:24/km, with France a mere second behind their continental rivals. The US and Holland are next, both averaging 5:30 for men, although it’s fair to say the Dutch make up for their lack of success on two feet when on two wheels, as we’ll come to later.

CountryAverage Pace Male
UK5:13/km
Spain5:24/km
France5:25/km
Holland5:30/km
USA5:30/km
Germany5:36/km

For women, the US is second, with France third.

CountryAverage Pace Female
UK6:07/km
USA6:10/km
France6:17/km
Holland6:29/km
Spain6:29/km
Germany6:32/km

The UK also impressed in the cycling rankings, with British men second only to Holland with an average speed of 25.61km/h compared to Holland’s 26.92km/h.

CountryAverage Speed Male
Holland26.92 km/h
UK25.61 km/h
France24.36 km/h
USA24.35 km/h
Germany23.28 km/h
Spain22.31 km/h

The Dutch also topped the female rankings, something we’ll chalk up to the flatness of the Netherlands. That, and the fact that it invests a lot in bike infrastructure.

British women did not fare so well, coming in sixth – and will perhaps continue to do so until MAWIL becomes a thing. France was second to the speedy Dutch, with the US coming in third.

CountryAverage Speed Female
Holland21.36 km/h
France20.74 km/h
USA20.51 km/h
Germany19.94 km/h
Spain19.86 km/h
UK19.84 km/h

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.