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Central European triathletes dominate Double Iron ultratriathlon – analysis of participation and performance 1985–2011

Authors Sigg, Knechtle B, Rüst CA, Knechtle P, Lepers R, Rosemann T

Received 14 August 2012

Accepted for publication 12 September 2012

Published 29 October 2012 Volume 2012:3 Pages 159—168


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Katrin Sigg,1 Beat Knechtle,1,2 Christoph Alexander Rüst,1 Patrizia Knechtle,2 Romuald Lepers,3 Thomas Rosemann1

1Institute of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich; 2Gesundheitszentrum St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland; 3INSERM U1093, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France

Background: A recent study showed that European triathletes performed faster in Double Iron ultratriathlons than North American athletes. The present study analyzed triathletes participating in Double Iron ultratriathlons to determine the origin of the fastest Double Iron ultratriathletes, focusing on European countries.
Methods: Participation and performance trends of finishers in Double Iron ultratriathlons from 1985–2011 of the different countries were investigated. Additionally, the performance trends of the top three women and men overall from 2001–2011 were analyzed.
Results: A total of 1490 finishers originated from 24 different European countries and the United States. The number of European triathletes increased for both women (r2 = 0.56; P < 0.01) and men (r2 = 0.63; P < 0.01). The number of the North American triathletes increased for women (r2 = 0.25; P < 0.01), but not for men (r2 = 0.02; P > 0.05). Hungarian triathletes showed a significant improvement in both overall race times and in cycling split times, Swiss triathletes improved both their swim and run times, and French triathletes improved their swim times.
Conclusion: Men and women triathletes from Central European countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary improved Double Iron ultratriathlon overall race times and split times during the 26-year period. The reasons might be the social and economic factors required to be able to participate in such an expensive and lavish race. Also, a favorable climate may provide the ideal conditions for successful training. Future studies need to investigate the motivational aspects of European ultraendurance athletes.

Keywords: triathlon, ultraendurance, swimming, cycling, running

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