No longer a man's race: More women than men are participating in the nation's 10 largest 10k road races

October 25, 2013

Men might be faster, but women are stronger in numbers in the nation's largest 10-kilometer road running races, according to a Northwestern Medicine® study.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 400,000 who participated in 10 of the largest 10km (6.2 mile) races in the U.S. from as early as 2002 through 2011.

Other findings from the study, the first to analyze performance trends among the nation's 10km runners, include:

  • The top groups of men and women appear to be getting faster
  • The fastest men are also increasingly younger
  • There are more sub-hour finishers, with increasingly more women accomplishing this feat compared to men
  • An increasing percentage of finishers, however, are completing races in more than one hour

The study was published online in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

"It seems that as these large races have more people participating, we have slower runners, but I see that as a positive thing," said Dan Cushman, M.D., lead author of the study.

"It's not just elite runners or former high school athletes running today's 10km races, there are more everyday people running this distance," Cushman said. "One of the best things we can do to improve our health is exercise and taking on a 10km race is a great goal."

Cushman is a clinical instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and chief resident at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Ten-kilometer races have become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the past decade with 1.3 million people participating in such races in 2010. Women began outnumbering in the 2006 and 2007 time-frame and today make up the majority of runners who participate in these 10 large 10km races in the U.S., Cushman said.

"Coaches and trainers can use this information to develop more -specific 10km training programs to accommodate this surge of female middle-distance runners," Cushman said.

Explore further: Economists examine gender disparity in CEO ranks

Related Stories

Economists examine gender disparity in CEO ranks

February 8, 2013

(—Women are reaching the upper echelons of business in record numbers—Marissa Mayer at Yahoo!, Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard, Ginni Rometty at IBM and Rosalind Brewer at Sam's Club, to name a few. Even so, women ...

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.