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Springerplus. 2016 Jan 26;5:76. doi: 10.1186/s40064-016-1704-9. eCollection 2016.

Half-marathoners are younger and slower than marathoners.

Author information

1
Gesundheitszentrum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland ; Institute of Primary Care, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
2
Department of Physical and Cultural Education, Hellenic Army Academy, Athens, Greece.
3
Institute of Primary Care, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

Age and performance trends of elite and recreational marathoners are well investigated, but not for half-marathoners. We analysed age and performance trends in 508,108 age group runners (125,894 female and 328,430 male half-marathoners and 10,205 female and 43,489 male marathoners) competing between 1999 and 2014 in all flat half-marathons and marathons held in Switzerland using single linear regression analyses, mixed-effects regression analyses and analyses of variance. The number of women and men increased across years in both half-marathons and marathons. There were 12.3 times more female half-marathoners than female marathoners and 7.5 times more male half-marathoners than male marathoners. For both half-marathons and marathons, most of the female and male finishers were recorded in age group 40-44 years. In half-marathons, women (10.29 ± 3.03 km/h) were running 0.07 ± 0.06 km/h faster (p < 0.001) than men (10.22 ± 3.06 km/h). Also in marathon, women (14.77 ± 4.13 km/h) were running 0.28 ± 0.16 km/h faster (p < 0.001) than men (14.48 ± 4.07 km/h). In marathon, women (42.18 ± 10.63 years) were at the same age than men (42.06 ± 10.45 years) (p > 0.05). Also in half-marathon, women (41.40 ± 10.63 years) were at the same age than men (41.31 ± 10.30 years) (p > 0.05). However, women and men marathon runners were older than their counterpart half-marathon runners (p < 0.001). In summary, (1) more athletes competed in half-marathons than in marathons, (2) women were running faster than men, (3) half-marathoners were running slower than marathoners, and (4) half-marathoners were younger than marathoners.

KEYWORDS:

Age group; Master runner; Men; Women

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