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THURSDAY, March 30, 2017 (HealthDay News) — All marathon runners eventually slow down. But a new study finds that whether a runner is average or elite, or whether they are a man or a woman, may determine at what age and how much their pace will decline.

The researchers reviewed 2001-2016 data from three of the largest U.S. marathons — Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“We found that marathon performance decline begins at about 35 years old,” said study lead author Dr. Gerald Zavorsky, of Georgia State University.

“For top runners, we determined the slowdown is about 2 minutes per year beginning at age 35 for men. And for women, it’s actually a little bit statistically faster of a slowdown, around 2 minutes and 30 seconds per year beginning at the age of 35,” Zavorsky said in a university news release.

He is an associate professor in the university’s department of respiratory therapy.

The researchers also found that marathoners aged 25 to 34 had the fastest times, with overall champion males at 28.3 years old and overall champion females at 30.8 years of age.

However, people with “average” marathon times don’t see a big impact on their performance until later in life, the findings showed.

“If you’re an average runner finishing in the middle of your age group, statistically the slowdown starts at age 50. It’s similar if you’re a man or woman. The decline with aging in average runners is around 2 minutes and 45 seconds per year beginning at age 50,” Zavorsky said.

The researchers suspect the reason that average runners see a decline later in life is that they likely started running later in life.

“Elite athletes realize their potential when they’re young, and they’re able to maximize that potential when they’re young. But average runners might not realize their potential until they’re a lot older and by that time physiological aging comes in. They try to reach their maximum potential, but they’re trying to reach it at a much older age and their ceiling…



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