Sub 20 5K – Mark Zuckerberg can do it. Can you? Here’s how

Is The Zuck’s Sub 20 any good?

Source: Results

First up, a Sub20 5K time is not trivial for any newbie athlete of any age. For many athletes, it’s a very worthy goal and achievement.


Mark Zuckerberg is a 38-year-old male and so that makes his age-graded time 69.1% and as my little spreadsheet shows below, my rating of that is ‘Quite Good‘ but certainly not anything to make national or international news. Matt, the European Head of Google who lives around the corner from me is a former Olympic rower and a competitive vet rower…I think that might mean that Google beats Meta/Facebook on the impressive-CEO-sport count. That said, Matt’s parkrun age grade percentage is about 60%, so maybe not.

For Zuckerberg’s time to be more noteworthy it would need to be more like 18:00. That’s a good 90 seconds faster and considerably harder to achieve. A more sensible, ultimate mark for anyone to aim for is an 80%age graded performance which, for many casual but committed athletes, probably represents the pinnacle of what they can ever achieve.


To get to Mark Zuckerberg’s time it definitely helps if you are younger and male. And, of course, it helps if you are fit. Most people should be able to get to a 70% age-graded performance by training 3 times a week. It might take you a while but you’ll get there. Sadly, you won’t make international news in the process unless you happen to run a large company and also tweet about it.

The Zuck’s performance is similar to that of an 18-year-old male, shown here


However, for a 60-year-old male, it’s quite a different kettle of fish. Indeed for a 60-year-old, it is extremely difficult


Likewise, for a 30-year-old female, a 19:34 time IS good. Very good, in fact.


And if you are a 60-year-old female, then. Wow

Here are some times by British Triathlon Team Manager, Joan Lennon. She’s more of a speed walker but, as you can see, she once got a 90% age-graded time. Pretty awesome & very inspirational!

More: Joan Lennon on parkrun

So how do you do it?

The answer of course is to train more effectively. Here are some links explaining in more detail how hard a sub20 5k might be for you, a plan to achieve one and some tips on boosting your performance to the max for a race within the next 10 days or so.

How to get a parkrun PB – Top *100* Tips for your best 5K time PB PR



a Sub 20 parkrun – how long will it take me to run 5k in less than 20 minutes?


5k Training Plan | Sub 19, 20, 21, 24 | running parkrun

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8 thoughts on “Sub 20 5K – Mark Zuckerberg can do it. Can you? Here’s how

  1. Well, it might not be good among athletes, but it is definitely good for office workers, especially in management.

    For my curiosity – is a parkrun a specific type of run, or just any 5k?

  2. Sub 20min is an excellent time from my stats. My local parkrun of 200 people: only 2 broken the 20min time. I would say the reality is that 20min is probably 95% absolute percentile. I can’t ever see 30% of people on a parkrun break 20mins.

      1. I think the parkrun results are a particular subset of the running community. Out of a national population, or people that run in general I think 5k times are a lot slower. I think being top 10% of park runners would be the equivalent of top 1% of people that run or even top0.1% of global society. I think anyone that can 5k, let alone 20mins is a good runner.

      2. yep, fair enough
        we all define these things differently.

        the age group %ages are an absolute measure of how good your time was (excluding course conditions). my textual interpretation over and above that is mine, but i think reasonable in the context of what mere mortals can achieve.

  3. What system is age grading based on? Quite important. And relative..
    Are these parkruns ever organised in age graded starts?
    The Sportsworld doesn’t Excel in Innovation. Look Alone at the use of pace instead of speed…..

    1. age grading, iirc, is based on the %age of the best ever time for someone in that age group globally.
      there can be >2000 starters but they are essentially ‘fun’ events taken seriously by a minority
      pace /speed…here we go again ! Most serious runners would use pace (per lap or per km) over speed.

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