Reduced performance difference between sexes in master mountain and city marathon running
Matthias A Zingg,1 Beat Knechtle,1,2 Christoph Alexander Rüst,1 Thomas Rosemann,1 Romuald Lepers3
1Institute of General Practice and 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: The performance in master marathoners has been investigated in flat city marathons but not in mountain marathons. This study examined changes in the sex differences in performance across time in female and male master runners competing in a mountain marathon compared to a flat city marathon.
Methods: The association between age and performance of finishers in the Jungfrau Marathon, Switzerland, with 1830 meter changes in altitude and a flat city marathon (Lausanne Marathon), Switzerland, were analyzed from 2000 to 2011.
Results: In both events, athletes in the 35–44 years age group showed the highest number of finishers. In the mountain marathon, the number of female master runners aged > 35 years increased in contrast to female finishers aged < 35 years, while the number of male finishers was unchanged in all age groups. In the city marathon, the number of female finishers was unchanged while the number of male finishers in the age groups for 25–34-year-olds and 35–44-year-olds decreased. In female marathoners, performance improved in athletes aged 35–44 and 55–64 years in the city marathon. Male marathoners improved race time in age group 45–54 years in both the city marathon and the mountain marathon. Female master runners reduced the sex difference in performance in the 45–54-year age group in both competitions and in the 35–44-year age group in the mountain marathon. The sex difference in performance decreased in the 35–44-year age group from 19.1% ± 4.7% to 16.6% ± 1.9% in the mountain marathon (r2 = 0.39, P = 0.03). In age groups 45–54 years, the sex difference decreased from 23.4% ± 1.9% to 15.9% ± 6.1% in the mountain marathon (r2 = 0.39, P < 0.01) and from 34.7% ± 4.6% to 11.8% ± 6.2% in the city marathon (r2 = 0.39, P < 0.01).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that female master runners aged 35–54 years reduced sex differences in their performance in both mountain and city marathon running.
Keywords: endurance, age, female, male
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