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  • Author: Sean T. Osis x
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Christian A. Clermont, Sean T. Osis, Angkoon Phinyomark and Reed Ferber

Certain homogeneous running subgroups demonstrate distinct kinematic patterns in running; however, the running mechanics of competitive and recreational runners are not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether we could separate and classify competitive and recreational runners according to gait kinematics using multivariate analyses and a machine learning approach. Participants were allocated to the ‘competitive’ (n = 20) or ‘recreational’ group (n = 15) based on age, sex, and recent race performance. Three-dimensional (3D) kinematic data were collected during treadmill running at 2.7 m/s. A support vector machine (SVM) was used to determine if the groups were separable and classifiable based on kinematic time point variables as well as principal component (PC) scores. A cross-fold classification accuracy of 80% was found between groups using the top 5 ranked time point variables, and the groups could be separated with 100% cross-fold classification accuracy using the top 14 ranked PCs explaining 60.29% of the variance in the data. The features were primarily related to pelvic tilt, as well as knee flexion and ankle eversion in late stance. These results suggest that competitive and recreational runners have distinct, ‘typical’ running patterns that may help explain differences in injury mechanisms.