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The Unlikeliness of an Imminent Sub-2-Hour Marathon: Historical Trends of the Gender Gap in Running Events

Ross Tucker and Jordan Santos-Concejero

The aim of the current study was to analyze men’s and women’s world records across the full range of running disciplines to contextualize the recent debate about the possibility of a sub-2-h marathon. The average male–female gap is currently 11.2% ± 1.0% for all running events. However, reducing the marathon time to below 2 h would produce a performance 12.9% (+1.7 SD) faster than the women’s marathon record. This gap would be greater than all current world-record differences and would also require a reversal of medium- and long-term historical trends in the men’s and women’s record differences. We therefore conclude that based on historical trends and known differences between men’s and women’s performances, the current women’s world record is not yet the equivalent of a sub-2-h marathon and, therefore, that an imminent sub-2-h marathon is implausible.

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Analysis of the Kenyan Distance-Running Phenomenon

Ross Tucker, Vincent O. Onywera, and Jordan Santos-Concejero


To investigate the ethnicity of Kenya’s most successful international runners, tracking their evolution over the period of their international emergence and current dominance.


The authors analyzed male track distance events from 800m upwards from all the major global athletics championships from 1964 to 2013, and the annual Top-25 world marathon performances since 1990.


The percentage of top-25 marathon performances and medals won by Kenyan and Kalenjin runners have increased over time with Nandi subtribe outperforming the rest of the world outside Africa (r > .70, large effect). However, Europe, North America, Oceania, Asia, and South America decreased over time in top marathon performances and track medals won (r > .70, large effect). The tribe and subtribe distribution was different in the marathon than in the track: Maasais were more likely to feature in medals won in shorter track events than in the top 25 of the world marathon rankings (risk ratio [RR] = 9.67, very large effect). This was also the case for Marakwets (RR = 6.44, very large effect) and Pokots (RR = 4.83, large effect). On the other hand, Keiyos, Kikuyus, Kipsigis, Sabaots, and Tugens were more likely to succeed in the marathon than in shorter track events (RR > 2.0, moderate effect).


These data emphasize that the previously documented emergence of African distance runners is primarily a Kenyan phenomenon, driven by the Kalenjin tribe and in particular the Nandi subtribe. This supports the complex interaction between genotype, phenotype, and socioeconomic factors driving the remarkable dominance of Kenyan distance runners.

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Evolution of 1500-m Olympic Running Performance

Carl Foster, Brian Hanley, Renato Barroso, Daniel Boullosa, Arturo Casado, Thomas Haugen, Florentina J. Hettinga, Andrew M. Jones, Andrew Renfree, Philip Skiba, Alan St Clair Gibson, Christian Thiel, and Jos J. de Koning

regarding the determinants of competition. Accordingly, we evaluated the evolution of performance in the men’s Olympic 1500-m track event over the past century. During this period, finishing times and lap splits for the winner were retrievable from online sources. Furthermore, we used performances in other

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The Influence of Different Training Load Quantification Methods on the Fitness-Fatigue Model

Kobe M. Vermeire, Freek Van de Casteele, Maxim Gosseries, Jan G. Bourgois, Michael Ghijs, and Jan Boone

test are given in Table  1 . Figure  2 shows the evolution of performance during the TTs. At the end of the 8-week training period, the mean performance improvement was 15.2% (4%) (pre: 300 [58] W, week 8: 345 [62] W, P  < .001, effect size [ES]: 0.74). Maximal performance improvement was found 1

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International Swimming League: Do Successive Events Lead to Improve Swimming Performance?

Robin Pla, Arthur Leroy, Yannis Raineteau, and Philippe Hellard

a classic training period could explain a better progression in the middle-distance events. It would have been interesting to look at the evolution of performance within this 5-week period, in order to propose an optimal competitive cycle time. The impact of number of events swum during each

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Elite Junior Throwers Unlikely to Remain at the Top Level in the Senior Category

Gennaro Boccia, Marco Cardinale, and Paolo Riccardo Brustio

were focused on the few athletes who participated in the WJC, it is not possible to accurately explain and analyze the evolution of performances from junior to senior in throwing events. Unfortunately, the studies that tracked a larger sample of athletes were performed only on national-level athletes

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The Star Excursion Balance Test: An Update Review and Practical Guidelines

Brice Picot, Romain Terrier, Nicolas Forestier, François Fourchet, and Patrick O. McKeon

However, it may be worth carefully observing the evolution of performance across trials and potentially asking individuals to repeat attempts until a relative stabilization of scores during three consecutive trials. We therefore recommend that deviation between trials for the same direction on the same

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Physical Growth and Development in Young Athletes: Factors of Influence and Consequence

Adam D.G. Baxter-Jones

to 1960 coaches would be able to identify the extent to which evolution of performance was due to changes in training regimens rather than changes in physique. The study concluded that the athletes’ physiques (i.e., somatotype distributions) were very different from those of the general population