Little is known about the anthropometric characteristics of ultramarathon runners. The present work reports on the physical characteristics of the 392 (310 males, 82 females) starters and 270 (216 males, 54 females) finishers of the 2007 Western States Endurance Run, one of the largest 161-km trail runs in North America. Among the starters, mean (and 25th to 75th percentiles) body mass index (BMI) values were 23.2 (21.6 - 24.6) and 20.6 (19.4 - 21.9) kg . m (-2) for the men and women, respectively. Men were significantly taller, heavier and had greater BMI's across all age groups compared with the women. Among the top-5 overall finishers, mean BMI values were 23.2 (range 22.4 - 24.7) for the men and 19.8 (range 17.3 - 21.1) for the women. Average running speed and BMI were negatively correlated for both men (r (2) = 0.11, p < 0.0001) and women (r (2) = 0.10, p = 0.02). From this analysis, it is concluded that those participating in ultramarathon runs can vary widely in physical characteristics with BMI values that would classify some individuals as underweight and others as overweight. BMI varied considerably even among the top finishers, but lower BMI values were associated with faster running times.
"Potential explanations for these disparate findings could be the longer race time in 100 miles (i.e. 161 km) ultra-marathons (Hoffman and Wegelin 2009) compared to 100 km ultra-marathons (Knechtle et al. 2012b) and differences in anthropometry and physiology between female and male ultra-marathoners (Hoffman 2008). The fastest 100 km race times are 6:13:33 h:min:sec for men, set in 1998 by Takahiro Sunada, and 6:33:11 h:min:sec for women, set in 2000 by Tomoe Abe (IAAF Athletics, http://www.iaaf.org). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Improved performance has been reported for master runners (i.e. athletes older than 40 years) in both single marathons and single ultra-marathons. This study investigated performance trends of age group ultra-marathoners competing in all 100 km and 100 miles races held worldwide between 1971 and 2013. Changes in running speeds across years were investigated for the annual ten fastest 5-year age group finishers using linear, non-linear and multi-level regression analyses. In 100 km, running speed remained unchanged in women in 25-29 years, increased non-linearly in 30-34 to 55-59 years, and linearly in 60-64 years. In men, running speed increased non-linearly in 18-24 to 60-64 years and linearly in 65-69 to 75-79 years. In 100 miles, running speed increased in women linearly in 25-29 and 30-34 years, non-linearly in 35-39 to 45-49 years, and linearly in 50-54 and 55-59 years. For men, running speed increased linearly in 18-24 years, non-linearly in 25-29 to 45-49 years, and linearly in 50-54 to 65-69 years. Overall, the faster race times over the last 30 years are a result of all top ten finishers getting faster. These findings suggest that athletes in younger to middle age groups (i.e. 25-35 to 50-65 years depending upon sex and distance) have reached their limits due to a non-linear increase in running speed whereas runners in very young (i.e. younger than 25-35 years) and older age groups (i.e. older than 50-65 years) depending upon sex and distance might still improve their performance due to a linear increase in running speed.
"Anthropometry also seems to play an important role in running times. Several studies, for example, have shown positive associations between anthropometric characteristics including body mass [20–22], body mass index [21, 23, 24], body fat percentage [21, 24, 25], skin-fold thickness of the lower body [26, 27], the circumference of upper arm [21, 22, 28] and the circumference of calf  and running times. On the other hand, no significant correlations have also been reported between anthropometric characteristics including body mass index, skeletal muscle mass, leg length, skinfold thicknesses or limb circumferences; and race time in multi-sports athletes competing in a Deca Iron ultra-triathlon . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose
Lower limb skin-fold thicknesses have been differentially associated with sex in elite runners. Front thigh and medial calf skin-fold appear to be related to 1,500m and 10,000m time in men but 400m time in women. The aim of the present study was to compare anthropometric and training characteristics in recreational female and male half-marathoners.
The association between both anthropometry and training characteristics and race time was investigated in 83 female and 147 male recreational half marathoners using bi- and multi-variate analyses.
In men, body fat percentage (β=0.6), running speed during training (β=-3.7), and body mass index (β=1.9) were related to half-marathon race time after multi-variate analysis. After exclusion of body mass index, r2 decreased from 0.51 to 0.49, but body fat percentage (β=0.8) and running speed during training (β=-4.1) remained predictive. In women, body fat percentage (β=0.75) and speed during training (β=-6.5) were related to race time (r2=0.73). For women, the exclusion of body mass index had no consequence on the predictive variables for half-marathon race time.
To summarize, in both female and male recreational half-marathoners, both body fat percentage and running speed during training sessions were related to half-marathon race times when corrected with co-variates after multi-variate regression analyses.
Asian Journal of Sports Medicine 03/2014; 5(1):10-20. DOI:10.5167/uzh-95130
"Performance in ultraendurance events can be affected by a number of factors. It has been shown that physiologic characteristics,9–11 anthropometric characteristics,12,13 previous experience,14,15 training characteristics,13,15 age,7,16 and gender17 are associated with ultraendurance performance. Among these factors, the association between age and endurance performance has been investigated in several studies.7,18,19 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
The association between age and performance was investigated using analysis of variance and both single and multilevel regression analyses.
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 (r(2) = 0.64, P = 0.001), whereas the number of male finishers (r(2) = 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.
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.
International Journal of General Medicine 08/2013; 6:707-18. DOI:10.2147/IJGM.S46984
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