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Celebrity Marathon Times

What Do I Need to Run to Beat Oprah's Marathon Time?


Updated May 22, 2014

When I talk to future marathon runners about their goal times, the conversation often turns to celebrities who have run marathons. They want to know what it will take to beat Oprah, P. Diddy, Lance, or other famous people who made news by running a marathon. Here are times for some celebrity marathon runners, in order from best to worst times:

Lance Armstrong, 2006 (2:59:36) and 2007 (2:46:43) New York City Marathon

Lance Armstrong
Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

After he finished the New York City Marathon in 2006, Lance Armstrong called the marathon "without a doubt the hardest physical thing I have ever done." But it didn't stop the seven-time Tour de France champion from attempting the race again the following year. He trained a little better in 2007, which resulted in a better time and less pain.

Apolo Ohno, 2011 New York City Marathon (3:25:12)

Apolo Ohno
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Speed skater Ohno, the most decorated American winter Olympian (2 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze medals), set a goal to run the New York City marathon in under three and a half hours. He crushed his goal with an impressive time of 3:25:12.

Natalie Morales, 2006 New York City Marathon (3:31:02)

Natalie Morales
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

I really admire Natalie Morales, one of the co-anchors of the Today show. She seems to have it all -- brains, beauty, talent and, man, can she run! Morales also ran the 2014 Boston Marathon in 3:34:45.

George W. Bush, 1993 Houston Marathon (3:44:52)

George W Bush
Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images
After marathon runners manage to beat Oprah's time, they often set their sights on another famous marathoner's time -- former U.S. president George W. Bush. But it's not an easy feat –- Bush is no chump when it comes to running.

Ed Norton, 2009 New York City Marathon (3:48:01)

Ed Norton
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Actor Ed Norton, well known for his roles in American History X, Primal Fear, and Fight Club, ran the New York City Marathon in support of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, which supports the preservation of biodiversity within the Maasai tribal lands of East Africa. He was posting updates and asking for donations on Twitter, even as he started the marathon. But he definitely put his phone down at some point, finishing in a very strong time.

Ryan Reynolds, 2008 New York City Marathon (3:50:22)

Ryan Reynolds
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images

The Green Lantern actor ran the New York City Marathon like a true superhero, completing the race in an impressive time, and doing it as a member of the Michael J. Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson Research’s Team Fox in honor of his father, who has Parkinson's Disease.

Anthony Edwards, 2003 Chicago Marathon (3:55:40) and 2009 NYC Marathon (4:08:20)

Anthony Edwards
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Actor Anthony Edwards may have been known as the sweet and kind-hearted Dr. Green on ER, but he's definitely fierce on the marathon course. His generous spirit was still with him in New York, however, when he ran to raise money to help build a public children's hospital in Kenya.

Will Ferrell, 2003 Boston Marathon (3:56:12)

Will Ferrell
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images
I passed funny man Will Ferrell in the 2003 Boston Marathon and he wasn't cracking jokes -- this guy is a serious runner! (And his time shows it!) I'm sure everyone around him was grateful that he was running in clothes, unlike his character in that infamous scene from Old School.

Sarah Palin, 2005 Humpy's Marathon (3:59:36)

Sarah Palin
Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images
Running a sub-4:00 marathon is high on some runners' goal lists, but can you imagine being able to say you ran a sub-4:00 and beat former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's time? Not too shabby for the former U.S. vice presidential candidate. I knew she was a runner, but I didn't realize that she could really go the distance.

Jennie Finch, 2011 New York City Marathon (4:05:26)

jennie finch
Andy Kropa/Getty Images
Finch, a former Olympic softball star, traded in her cleats for running shoes in her first marathon. The new mother started the New York City Marathon dead last and TimexSports donated a dollar to New York Road Runners Youth Programs for every runner that she passed during the race.
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