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Sex differences in the age of peak marathon race time


Nikolaidis, Pantelis Theodoros; Rosemann, Thomas; Knechtle, Beat (2018). Sex differences in the age of peak marathon race time. Chinese Journal of Physiology, 61(2):85-91.

Abstract

Recent studies showed that women were older than men when achieving their fastest marathon race time. These studies, however, investigated a limited sample of athletes. We investigated the age of peak marathon performance in a large sample of female and male marathon finishers by using data from all finishers. We analyzed the age of peak marathon performance in 1-year and 5-year age intervals of 451,637 runners (i.e. 168,702 women and 282,935 men) who finished the ‘New York City Marathon’ between 2006 and 2016, using analysis of variance and non-linear regression analysis. During these 11 years, men were faster and older than women, the participation of women increased disproportionately to that of men resulting in a decrease of the male-to-female ratio, and relatively more women participated in the younger age groups. Most women were in the age group 30-34 years
and most men in the age group 40-44 years. The fastest race time was shown at 29.7 years in women and 34.8 years in men in the 1-year age intervals, and in age group 30-34 years in women and 35-39 years in men in the 5-year age intervals. In contrast to existing findings reporting a higher age of peak marathon performance in women compared to men, we found that women achieved their best marathon race time ~5 years earlier in life than men in both 1-year and 5-year age intervals. Female athletes and their coaches should plan to achieve their fastest marathon race time at the age of ~30 years.

Abstract

Recent studies showed that women were older than men when achieving their fastest marathon race time. These studies, however, investigated a limited sample of athletes. We investigated the age of peak marathon performance in a large sample of female and male marathon finishers by using data from all finishers. We analyzed the age of peak marathon performance in 1-year and 5-year age intervals of 451,637 runners (i.e. 168,702 women and 282,935 men) who finished the ‘New York City Marathon’ between 2006 and 2016, using analysis of variance and non-linear regression analysis. During these 11 years, men were faster and older than women, the participation of women increased disproportionately to that of men resulting in a decrease of the male-to-female ratio, and relatively more women participated in the younger age groups. Most women were in the age group 30-34 years
and most men in the age group 40-44 years. The fastest race time was shown at 29.7 years in women and 34.8 years in men in the 1-year age intervals, and in age group 30-34 years in women and 35-39 years in men in the 5-year age intervals. In contrast to existing findings reporting a higher age of peak marathon performance in women compared to men, we found that women achieved their best marathon race time ~5 years earlier in life than men in both 1-year and 5-year age intervals. Female athletes and their coaches should plan to achieve their fastest marathon race time at the age of ~30 years.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of General Practice
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:age, athlete, endurance, sex
Language:English
Date:30 April 2018
Deposited On:27 Jul 2018 15:57
Last Modified:27 Jul 2018 15:57
Publisher:Chinese Physiological Society
ISSN:0304-4920
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4077/CJP.2018.BAG535
PubMed ID:29526077

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