Running is the first choice for sport of a large part of the world’s population. To be an active runner means to be dedicated, disciplined, to have a goal. For many, this goal is called a marathon – the most difficult racing discipline. If your only goal is to finish a marathon then this article may not be of much interest to you, but if you want to be as fast as you can then it may not be bad to know the ideal age for a marathon.
The marathons are more and more numerous. The new millennium seems to have surpassed the golden racing era of the 1980s. The world marathons have several tens of thousands of participants. In other words, running is experiencing its second big boom, and with it the marathon as a discipline.
For these reasons a group of Spanish scientists have begun to research what is the best time to run a marathon and at what age a person can run his best time. For the purposes of this study, the finish times of 45,000 participants in the New York Marathon between the ages of 18 and 70 were used.
The results of the study showed that the ideal age for achieving the best time in a marathon is 27 years for men and 29 years for women. Finishers younger than this age averaged 4% slower time each year than the optimal age and 2% slower each year above the ideal.
This decline in results is noticeable and gradually increases until age 55 when the differences begin to become significantly larger. The study also found that 18-year-old finishers have almost the same finishing time as 60-year-old participants.