Oprah ran the 1994 Marine Corps Marathon in a time of 4:29:15, at 40 years old. Oprah’s time meant she ran an average pace of 10.17 per mile.
How Did Oprah Train for the Marathon?
Oprah has described how she had aimed to get fit and set the goal of running a marathon by the time she was 40. Under the close supervision of her trainer Bob Green, she set about on a weight loss and marathon training regime in 1993. She started from scratch, mixing walking with jogging and clocking in 17 minute miles, before working up to longer runs, with fewer breaks in between. Some reports suggest that on some days Oprah was training twice a day around a hectic work schedule – an impressive feat!
As part of training and weight loss Oprah ran America’s Finest City Half Marathon in a time of 2:16:03. In typical celebrity style she ran it under a pseudonym of Bobbi Jo Jenkins and was accompanied by a bodyguard, trainer and video crew…not your average half marathon setup.
At the peak of her training Oprah was running around 50 miles per week, making her well-prepared to take on the marathon. She had lost over 70 pounds since the start of her journey, from a starting point of 237 pounds.
She discussed her marathon preparation on the Oprah show, which can be seen below:
The “Beat Oprah” Effect
Perhaps because of Oprah’s inspirational journey to complete a marathon, coupled with her status as a revered rolemodel, but Oprah’s time has become something of a target for many marathon runners.
Just as people aim to beat the 4 hour mark, 3.30 or Boston qualifying time, Oprah’s time of 4:29:15 has become its own target. Not just for us mere mortals either, another celeb marathoner P Diddy had the “Oprah Line” in his sights for when he competed in a marathon too (and he did beat Oprah’s time).
So have you beaten Oprah’s time? See how you compare to other celebrities that have run a marathon with our celeb marathon time longlist.
At the time, Oprah Winfrey was one of the first mainstream celebrities to take on the monumental challenge of running a marathon and has been widely credited as helping to kick start the popularity of marathon running in the mainstream.
Has Oprah Run More Than One Marathon?
No, it’s just the one marathon for Oprah and that seems to be enough for her! This video shot fairly soon after her completed marathon suggests a knee injury as the main cause, as well as the heavy psychological burden of a marathon!
Her marathon was a while ago now, so that dodgy knee may well be a thing of the past, but it also means that Oprah is a lot older than for her first distance running adventure. It seems that she didn’t stick to running consistently following her marathon, with an incredibly hectic work schedule making training difficult. She has also been said to struggle with weight fluctuations. That’s not to say that another 26.2 is impossible, far from it as marathon runners come from all backgrounds, but it seems unlikely that Oprah will be running another 26.2 miles in the near future.