The Tortoise and the Hare: Men are More Likely than Women to Slow in the Marathon


Pacing in endurance races has long been of interest to sports scientists. However, research has been traditionally limited to small data sets of elite or sub-elite performances. To address pacing in non-elites, including the possibility of marked gender differences, we acquired data from 14 marathons encompassing 91,929 performances; for 2,929 individuals, we obtained running experience data from a race-aggregating website. Even after controlling for age, experience, finishing time, and differences in maximal oxygen uptake, men were three times as likely as women to slow markedly (running the second half of the race more than 30% slower than the first half).

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