Mark Zuckerberg Runs a Sub-20 5k On Very Little Training

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Many runners love to see how their own race times and PRs (personal records) compare to the running performances of different celebrities.

Even celebrities who run often compete against the times of other famous A-listers.

For example, when DJ Diplo ran the LA Marathon earlier in 2023, he was the furthest thing from shy about saying he was gunning to beat Oprah Winfrey’s iconic four hours, 29 minutes, and 20 seconds (4:29:20) marathon time, which she ran at the Marine Corps Marathon back in 1994.

(Diplo ended up smashing Oprah’s marathon time by finishing the LA Marathon in 3:55:11—and on LSD no less!)

For shorter distances, there are also some pretty impressive celebrity race times.

Most recently, Meta CEO and co-founder (formerly Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg, blasted through the 2023 Stanford Medicine My Heart Counts 5K in 19:34, smashing his stated goal and common 5k time barrier of running a sub-20 minute 5k.

Mark Zuckerberg was at one point, one of the very richest people in the world, and although his net worth has dropped, he’s still a billionaire and CEO at an enormous company and a fast runner to boot.

The 38-year-old posted about his 5k race in Palo Alto, CA on Instagram afterward, reporting “Good 5k with friends. Whole crew hit our sub-20 min goal, but that before and after photo shows we had to push!”

Mark Zuckerberg finished in 11th place out of the 885 participants and fourth in the 35-39 age group. 

Zuckerberg isn’t new to the running scene, and he classifies himself as a former avid runner.

For example, in 2016, he set out with the modest goal of running 365 miles in the year and finished with a full five months to spare.

However, in recent years, he reports that he has cut back significantly on his running training in order to prioritize other types of exercise that better suit his interests and physical and mental needs at this time, including mixed martial arts (MMA) and Brazilian jiu jitsu.

He has said that running gives him too much time to think and be in his head, and he prefers physical outlets that allow him to turn off the business-oriented side of his brain and just be present in the physical activity a little bit easier.

On Zuckerberg’s Facebook post about his 5k race, he replied to a comment saying, “I actually stopped running for a while and got stronger from MMA. Then I ran for about a month before this race and realized I was faster than before.”

In a comment on his Instagram post, Zuckerberg noted that he thinks the MMA training has helped him get stronger.

Whatever he’s doing is working; a 19:34 5k translates to 6:19 per mile, which is quite impressive for a fairly casual runner!

For expert tips on how to improve your own 5k finish time, check out our guide to hitting a 5k race PR here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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