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Open Access J Sports Med. 2018 Mar 1;9:37-45. doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S154816. eCollection 2018.

Age of peak performance in 50-km ultramarathoners - is it older than in marathoners?

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Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Nikaia, Greece.
Laboratory of Exercise Testing, Hellenic Air Force Academy, Dekelia, Greece.
Medbase St. Gallen Am Vadianplatz, St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Institute of Primary Care, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.



Despite the increasing popularity of 50-km ultramarathons during the last few years, only limited information is available regarding the trends in its performance and participation. The aim of the present study was to examine the age of peak running performance in female and male 50-km ultramarathoners using second-order nonlinear regression analyses.


Data from 494,414 runners (124,045 women and 370,369 men) who finished a 50-km ultramarathon between 1975 to 2016 were analyzed.


When the top ten finishers in 1-year age-groups were analyzed, the age of peak running speed was 41 years in both women and men. When the fastest finishers in 1-year age-group intervals were analyzed, the age of peak running speed was 40 years in women and 39 years in men.


In summary, the age of peak running speed in 50-km ultramarathoners is older than what has been reported by previous studies for marathons. Women seem to achieve the best race time in a 50-km ultramarathon later in life compared with men. These findings are of great practical value for coaches and fitness trainers when setting performance goals for 50-km ultramarathon runners.


aerobic capacity; aging; cardiorespiratory fitness; master athlete; running; sex difference; ultra-endurance

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