, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 1033–1045 | Cite as

Age-related changes in 100-km ultra-marathon running performance

  • Beat KnechtleEmail author
  • Christoph Alexander Rüst
  • Thomas Rosemann
  • Romuald Lepers


The aims of this study were (1) to investigate the participation and performance trends at the ‘100 km Lauf Biel’ in Switzerland from 1998 to 2010, and (2) to compare the age-related changes in 100-km running performance between males and females. For both sexes, the percent of finishers significantly (P < 0.01) decreased for the 18–29 and the 30–39-year age groups, while it significantly (P < 0.01) increased for the 40–49 and the 50–59-year age groups over the studied period. From 1998 to 2010, the mean age of the top ten finishers increased by 0.4 years per annum for both females (P = 0.02) and males (P = 0.003). The running time for the top ten finishers remained stable for females, while it significantly (P = 0.001) increased by 2.4 min per annum for males. There was a significant (P < 0.001) age effect on running times for both sexes. The best 100-km running times was observed for the age comprised between 30 and 49 years for males, and between 30 and 54 years for females, respectively. The age-related decline in running performance was similar until 60–64 years between males and females, but was greater for females compared to males after 65 years. Future studies should investigate the lifespan from 65 to 75 years to better understand the performance difference between male and female master ultra-marathoners.


Ultra-endurance Long distance running Gender difference Aging Master athlete 



We thank Mary Miller for her help in translation.


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beat Knechtle
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christoph Alexander Rüst
    • 2
  • Thomas Rosemann
    • 2
  • Romuald Lepers
    • 3
  1. 1.Facharzt FMH für AllgemeinmedizinGesundheitszentrum St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of General Practice and Health Services ResearchUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.INSERM U887, Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of BurgundyDijonFrance

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