Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Ultramarathon News and Stats

USA Today had an article on ultramarathons. The article covers last weekend's Massanutten Mt. Trails 100 Mile Run. But in addition to the details of this race, it also looks into the sport of ultramarathons.

It mentions that ultras appeal to the "frustrated endurance crowd" who look at marathons as nothing special. From the article:

Given that everyone from Oprah Winfrey to your mother's dentist seems to have finished a regular marathon, the cachet of running a marathon as a feat of strength and endurance has diminished in the eyes of many runners.

One example of how marathons have been attracting more of the average Joes is how the average marathon finishing times have been slowing down. The article listed this interesting stat that it quoted from the The Philadelphia Inquirer: "average marathon finishing times for men have jumped from 3 hours, 32 minutes in 1980 to 4 hours, 19 minutes last year"

The article then provides some history and demographics of ultras:

The USA's first ultramarathon, the JFK 50 Miler, began in Maryland in 1963 as a tribute to President John F. Kennedy, who advocated 50-mile walks and hikes to improve the nation's fitness.

In 1979, 2,300 racers finished an ultramarathon, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer study. Last year, more than 18,000 achieved that feat.


The average ultramarathon runner is older and more conservative than counterparts in the other so-called extreme sports ...

That will be reflected in the final results: The average age of the race's first 10 finishers is 35.7; the 45th through 54th places averaged 45.2 years; and the last 10 runners average 49.1

It will be interesting to see if ultras keep growing in popularity. Could they become as widespread as today's marathons?

Here are the results for last weekend's Massanutten Mt. Trails 100 Miler. There were 93 finishers out of 143 starters. Out of the 93 finishers, 6 were women. The youngest finisher was a 26 years-old man (only 3 under 30). The oldest finisher was a 64 year-old male.

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