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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.

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


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.


Age group; Master runner; Men; Women

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