The results of experimental and numerical studies of the generation of runaway electrons (RAE) in a pressurized air-filled diode under the application of 20 ns, 5 ns and 1 ns duration high-voltage pulses with an amplitude up to 160 kV are presented. It is shown that with a 1 ns pulse, RAE with energy ≥20 keV reach the anode prior to the formation of the plasma channel between the cathode and anode. Conversely, with 20 ns or 5 ns pulses, RAE with energy ≥20 keV were obtained at the anode only after the formation of the plasma channel. In addition, the high- and low-impedance stages of the development of the discharge were found. Finally, a comparison between experimental and numerical simulation results is presented.