Why Elite Women Runners Are Running Faster, Better as they Age

“Female long distance runners are like wine, they get better with time”


At the 2008 NYC marathon there were 41 elite women. There average age was 33, Two thirds were 30 or older and nearly a half were 35 and older.

Some of the famous names were Paula Radcliffe 34, the eventful winner, Gete Wami 33 and Catherine Ndereba 36, the fourth place finisher.

And it is not just NYC marathon, just look at this list of 2008 marathon winners;

2008 Beijing Olympic marathon- Constantina Tomescu of Romania, 38 Years young.

2008 Berlin Marathon – Irina Mikitenko,  36 years young.

2008 Chicago marathon – Lidiya Grigoryeva, 34 years young.

Why they are doing so well.

According to an article I read on NYtimes. Ryan Lamppa, a researcher for Running USA, a nonprofit organization that tracks trends in distance running says more women are sticking to the marathon due to economic incentives.  Atleast 5 for the elite winners at NYC marathon have made over US$ 1 million in career earnings.

“If the sport was back in its amateur days, you definitely wouldn’t see as many 30-plus marathoners than you do now,” Lamppa said. “I don’t think they’re staying in the sport purely for the love of it. It’s a nice gig if you can do it long enough. But, you know, it’s a painful gig, too.”

One thought on “Why Elite Women Runners Are Running Faster, Better as they Age

  1. Priyanka

    Whoa! I’m not sure I agree with Ryan Lamppa. Yes, it is a painful gig and something you need to be careful with after a certain age if you’re a woman. I’m 32 and I run because I honestly love running. Plus, the 30s are your peak running years, probably why most women win at that age.

    Also, can’t ignore the fact that a marathon is a mature sport – one needs to really really want to go that far. Younger atheletes have less patience, but at 30, you’re ready for the distance.


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