European dominance in multistage ultramarathons: an analysis of finisher rate and performance trends from 1992 to 2010
Mohannad Abou Shoak,1 Beat Knechtle,1,2 Christoph Alexander Rüst,1 Romuald Lepers,3 Thomas Rosemann1
1Institute of General Practice and for Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; 2Gesundheitszentrum St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland; 3INSERM U1093, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France
Background: Participation and performance trends regarding the nationality of ultraendurance athletes have been investigated in the triathlon, but not in running. The present study aimed to identify the countries in which multistage ultramarathons were held around the world and the nationalities of successful finishers.
Methods: Finisher rates and performance trends of finishers in multistage ultramarathons held worldwide between 1992 and 2010 were investigated.
Results: Between 1992 and 2010, the bulk of multistage ultramarathons were held in Germany and France, with more than 30 races organized in each country. Completion rates for men and women increased exponentially, with women representing on average 16.4% of the total field. Since 1992, 6480 athletes have competed in Morocco, 2538 in Germany, and 1842 in France. A total of 81.9% of athletes originated from Europe, and more specifically from France (22.9%), Great Britain (18.0%), and Germany (13.4%).
Conclusion: European ultramarathoners dominated the athletes who completed multistage ultramarathons worldwide, with specific dominance of French, British, and German athletes. Future studies should investigate social aspects, such as sport tourism, among European athletes to understand why European athletes are so interested in participating in multistage ultramarathons.
Keywords: ultraendurance, run, nationality, distance, stage
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