Back to Journals » International Journal of General Medicine » Volume 6

Finisher and performance trends in female and male mountain ultramarathoners by age group

Authors Rüst CA, Knechtle B, Eichenberger E, Rosemann T, Lepers R

Received 20 April 2013

Accepted for publication 15 June 2013

Published 20 August 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 707—718

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S46984

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Christoph Alexander Rüst,1 Beat Knechtle,1,2 Evelyn Eichenberger,1 Thomas Rosemann,1 Romuald Lepers3

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

Background: This study examined changes according to age group in the number of finishers and running times for athletes in female and male mountain ultramarathoners competing in the 78 km Swiss Alpine Marathon, the largest mountain ultramarathon in Europe and held in high alpine terrain.
Methods: The association between age and performance was investigated using analysis of variance and both single and multilevel regression analyses.
Results: Between 1998 and 2011, a total of 1,781 women and 12,198 men finished the Swiss Alpine Marathon. The number of female finishers increased (r2 = 0.64, P = 0.001), whereas the number of male finishers (r2 = 0.18, P = 0.15) showed no change. The annual top ten men became older and slower, whereas the annual top ten women became older but not slower. Regarding the number of finishers in the age groups, the number of female finishers decreased in the age group 18–24 years, whereas the number of finishers increased in the age groups 30–34, 40–44, 45–49, 50–54, 55–59, 60–64, and 70–74 years. In the age groups 25–29 and 35–39 years, the number of finishers showed no changes across the years. In the age group 70–74 years, the increase in number of finishers was linear. For all other age groups, the increase was exponential. For men, the number of finishers decreased in the age groups 18–24, 25–29, 30–34, and 35–39 years. In the age groups 40–44, 45–49, 50–54, 55–59, 60–64, 70–74, and 75–79 years, the number of finishers increased. In the age group 40–44 years, the increase was linear. For all other age groups, the increase was exponential. Female finishers in the age group 40–44 years became faster over time. For men, finishers in the age groups 18–24, 25–29, 30–34, 40–44, and 45–49 years became slower.
Conclusion: The number of women older than 30 years and men older than 40 years increased in the Swiss Alpine Marathon. Performance improved in women aged 40–44 years but decreased in male runners aged 18–49 years.

Keywords: ultraendurance, female, male, age group

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]