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Women Reduce the Performance Difference to Men with Increasing Age in Ultra-Marathon Running


Waldvogel, Karin J; Nikolaidis, Pantelis T; Di Gangi, Stefania; Rosemann, Thomas; Knechtle, Beat (2019). Women Reduce the Performance Difference to Men with Increasing Age in Ultra-Marathon Running. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(13):2377.

Abstract

Age and sex are well-known factors influencing ultra-marathon race performance. The fact that women in older age groups are able to achieve a similar performance as men has been documented in swimming. In ultra-marathon running, knowledge is still limited. The aim of this study was to analyze sex-specific performance in ultra-marathon running according to age and distance. All ultra-marathon races documented in the online database of the German Society for Ultra-Marathon from 1964 to 2017 for 50-mile races (i.e., 231,980 records from 91,665 finishers) and from 1953 to 2017 for 100-mile races (i.e., 107,445 records from 39,870 finishers) were analyzed. In 50-mile races, race times were 11.74 ± 1.95 h for men and 12.31 ± 1.69 h for women. In 100-mile races, race times were 26.6 ± 3.49 h for men and 27.47 ± 3.6 h for women. The sex differences decreased with older age and were smaller in 100-mile (4.41%) than in 50-mile races (9.13%). The overall age of peak performance was 33 years for both distances. In summary, women reduced the performance difference to men with advancing age, the relative difference being smaller in 100-mile compared to 50-mile races. These findings might aid coaches and ultra-marathon runners set long-term training goals considering their sex and age.

Abstract

Age and sex are well-known factors influencing ultra-marathon race performance. The fact that women in older age groups are able to achieve a similar performance as men has been documented in swimming. In ultra-marathon running, knowledge is still limited. The aim of this study was to analyze sex-specific performance in ultra-marathon running according to age and distance. All ultra-marathon races documented in the online database of the German Society for Ultra-Marathon from 1964 to 2017 for 50-mile races (i.e., 231,980 records from 91,665 finishers) and from 1953 to 2017 for 100-mile races (i.e., 107,445 records from 39,870 finishers) were analyzed. In 50-mile races, race times were 11.74 ± 1.95 h for men and 12.31 ± 1.69 h for women. In 100-mile races, race times were 26.6 ± 3.49 h for men and 27.47 ± 3.6 h for women. The sex differences decreased with older age and were smaller in 100-mile (4.41%) than in 50-mile races (9.13%). The overall age of peak performance was 33 years for both distances. In summary, women reduced the performance difference to men with advancing age, the relative difference being smaller in 100-mile compared to 50-mile races. These findings might aid coaches and ultra-marathon runners set long-term training goals considering their sex and age.

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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
Language:English
Date:4 July 2019
Deposited On:25 Jul 2019 12:09
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:38
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:1660-4601
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132377

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