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More people are running than ever, but an interesting study shows that the median finish times of those runners are declining over time. A study published on RunRepeat.com explores several different factors that come into play with influencing finish times among Americans. The two researchers, Jens Jakob Andersen, a former competitive runner and Statistician at Copenhagen Business School, and Ivanka Andreeva Nikolova, who holds Ph.D. in Mathematical Analysis, conducted the study.
The study looked at 34,680,750 results from 28,732 different races across 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon (by far the largest analysis in running ever). The key conclusion was that, with the exception of elite runners, runners in the U.S. as a whole were clocking slower finish times across all distances, no matter gender or age.
Here were some of the key points:
One “myth” that was busted was that this has nothing to do with more women participating than ever. (If nothing else, this just makes running more badass!) It also had nothing to do with more people hopping into races without proper “training” just to finish—we commend those people either way!
Further, the full study found a correlation between the obesity epidemic and slower finish times.
Related: If You Run Slow, Who Cares?