Performance Differences Between the Sexes in the Boston Marathon From 1972 to 2017

We examined trends in participation and performance in the Boston Marathon from 1972 to 2017. A total of 371,250 different finishers (64% men) and 553,890 observations—with 187,998 (34%) being of women and 365,892 (66%) of men—were analyzed using Generalized Additive Mixed Models. The number of finishers increased over the years. Female participation started at 2.81% in 1972 and reached 45.68% in 2016. Considering all finishers, men (03:38:42 ± 00:41:43 h:min:s) were overall faster than women (04:03:28 ± 00:38:32 h:min:s) by 10.7%. Average performance worsened over the years, but the differences between the sexes decreased. For the annual 10 fastest runners, performance improved with a decrease in speed difference (18.3% overall, men: 02:13:30 ± 00:04:08 h:min:s vs. women: 02:37:42 ± 00:17:58 h:min:s). For the annual winners, performance improved with a decrease in speed difference (15.5% overall, men: 02:10:24 ± 00:03:05 h:min:s vs. women: 02:30:43 ± 00:11:05 h:min:s). For the near-elite finishers from the 21st to the 100th place and from the 101st to the 200th place, women's performance improved with a decrease in the difference to men. In summary, the trend in performance over the years depended on the methodological approach (i.e., all vs. annual 10 fastest finishers vs. annual winners), but the difference between the sexes decreased in all instances. Although men were 10.7% faster than women, the fastest men (i.e., top 10 and winners) increased the gap between ...
Source: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research - Category: Sports Medicine Tags: Original Research Source Type: research
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