Friday, May 30, 2008

Will women someday be faster than men in the marathon?

Click on the headline for this story and read Amy Burfoots story on Women and long distance. When you think how long into the running boom we got before women were allowed into marathons, the latest scientific speculation about their endurance power becomes even more ironic: Women might have been better equipped all along than the men who were keeping up the barriers against them. At least that may be true as far as fuel is concerned, when you compare female endurance reserves to those of the stronger men who were protecting the "weaker sex" as too delicate for such a grueling distance.
More accurately, whatever advantage women do possess probably doesn't kick in until an event gets at least as long as the marathon – anything 26.2 miles or over, or its equivalent in another sport, that qualifies it as "ultra distance." And if our theories are correct, the longer the event, the greater the possible advantage. Tracy Sundlun is a former Olympic track coach who has trained over 30 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers, and in his view, "The differences as you probe farther into the ultra distances seem to indicate men and women are competing more on an even plane."

1 comment:

Matt S. said...

It will never happen...ever! I am not sexist or anything, but it just won't happen. The women's WR in the marathon is 2:15:xx set by Paula Radcliffe in London a few years ago. Since then 2:20 has only been broken literally a handful of times (and nothing even close to 2:15). Shoot our best female runner (Deena Kastor) PR is 2:19:36, which again is not even close to the mark. I think it will be at least another 8-10 years minimum before a womens marathon WR is broken. This day in age, an elite male runner would drop out if they were going to finish in 2:15. Sorry but women will never catch the men.