I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Women are better marathoners than men. Even though women haven’t been running marathons as long as men and that men are bigger, stronger and faster, women are still better at the 26.2-mile distance than men.
This isn’t just my opinion, hardened by getting passed countless times by women in tons of marathons. A new study, published in Medicine & Sport In Science and Exercise, confirms this. The study looked at the results of more than 91,000 marathon finishers from 14 marathons in 2011 and reveals the not surprising fact that women marathoners pace themselves better and slow down significantly less than men in the closing miles.
As reported by Amby Burfoot on runnersworld.com, this study confirms earlier results that showed women are better marathoners, but that study was confined to two Chicago Marathons.
Regardless, the researchers concluded: “The sex difference in pacing is robust. It may reflect differences in physiology, decision making or both.”
I can add two other differences: Brains and ego. Women are smarter and men, loaded up with testosterone, generally go out much too fast and crater.
Although in the marathons studied, men had a faster average finishing time of 4:28 versus 4:54 for the women, the men slowed by an average of 15.6 percent in the second half of the race compared to their first-half splits. The women in the same races only slowed by 11.7 percent in the second half. Equally telling, women in these marathons were 64 percent less likely to hit the wall than men.
All sorts of reasons for this disparity have been detailed in other studies—men burn through glycogen faster than women, women have greater fat stores (sorry) that they are able to tap into and women are less competitive than men. (I didn’t say that; researchers did.)
But Michael Joyner, the co-author of this new study, had a different, less scientific take: “There’s a ton of social psychology thinking that men are perhaps more competitively reckless than women. Having spent my life around high-achieving men and women, I believe we’ve simply confirmed that more men are knuckleheads.”
Couldn’t agree more.
O Plenty of Texas alumni had huge days at the USATF Championships last weekend in Sacramento. Leo (The Lion) Manzano won his second US title in the 1500 meters in a slowish 3:38.63. Manzano was easily the class of a lackluster field (Matthew Centrowitz didn’t run) and waited until the final 30 meters to pass Pat Casey for the victory. Michelle Carter easily won the shot for her fifth national title with a toss of 63-9 ¾ and the great Trey Hardee led from start to finish to win the decathlon with 8599 points. Sanya Richards-Ross, on the comeback from toe surgery a few months ago, finished second in the 400 in 49.66, second fastest time in the world. Briana Nelson, who just graduated from UT, was sixth in the 400 in a PR of 51.05. Finally, Marielle Hall, another June grad, sliced six seconds off her PR to finish third in the 5000 in a school record time of 15:12.79 to cap a brilliant spring track season.
O Other Austinite-based Rogue athletes who competed in Sacramento, included Alli Mendez in the 10,000 (DNF), Sarah Pease who finished 13th in the steeple (9:59). Sarah ran faster in her heat (9:48), but Mary Goldkamp (10:03) didn’t advance to the steeple final. In the 10,000, Devin Monson ran a strong race to finish 12th in 29:53. Parker Stinson of Cedar Park did not start.
O Another Austin-based Rogue runner—Chris Gowell, who is from Wales—finished fourth in the British 1500-meter championships in 3:48.56 which—I think—is a PR. Gowell was an All American at Baylor.
O Gilbert’s Gazelles and the Austin running community, was saddened by the death of David Gelber on June 21. Gelber, 71, didn’t begin running until he was 55, but was a passionate marathoner and long-run buddy with the Gazelles. He worked for the IRS until his retirement and previously owned Austin City Coffee for a number of years. Services were held on June 25th, and his family asked that memorial donations go to the Gazelle Foundation.
O Louis Zamperini died yesterday at the age of 97. Zamperini, the subject of the epic Unbroken, was a 1936 US Olympian in the 5000 meters where he finished seventh. His fame was due to his amazing story of surviving a 46-day ordeal on a life raft in the Pacific, only to wash ashore on a Japanese-held island. From there, he became a prisoner-of-war where he was subjected to brutal treatment. Zamperini somehow survived and his story was first told by CBS in 1998 (check it out on YouTube) and later by Laura Hillenbrand in her brilliant book which is a movie, directed by Angelina Jolie, scheduled for a Christmas-day release.
O Kelly Williamson led the women pros out of the water last weekend at the Coeur d’Alene IM, but was soon passed by eventual winner Heather Wurtele on the bike. By the bike-to-run transition, Wurtele had 15 minutes on Kelly, a lead which she was able to maintain on the marathon. Wurtele eventually won in 9:34 with Williamson second in 9:50. (Williamson won the Texas IM in May in 8:54.) Wurtele’s marathon time of 3:09:10, even bettered Kelly’s 3:09:47.
O Up in Lubbock at the Buffalo Springs 70.3, Brandon Marsh of Austin led out of the water with a 22:17 swim and hung onto sixth in 4:09:16, just a spot in front of former UT star (and former Austinite) Joe Thorne in 4:19. Josh Terwoord of Austin was ninth in 4:20 and had the fastest run of the day with a 1:19:39. Rafael Silva of San Antonio was 18th in 4:36. Jeremiah Martin of Austin was 37th in 4:57.
O Natasha Van Der Merwe of Austin scored a podium finish at the Challenge Atlantic City. The 28-year-old South African native finished third among the women in the Ironman-length race with a solid 9:58.
O The absolutely remarkable Paul Terranova finished 13th at the Western States 100-miler in California in 17:26. If that wasn’t enough, immediately upon finishing, the 40-year-old got down on the track and did pushups. Shaheen Sattar of Dallas was the ninth woman in 21:20. Eric Zipfel of Austin finished in 23:25 and Don Zoch of Driftwood crossed in 25:49. Amanda Alvarado of San Antonio completed the race in 27:25.
O Department of Corrections: Hannah Moss, a former Lake Travis and SMU 400-meter runner who died in mid-March in Dallas, died as a result of cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 20, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner. We erroneously reported that Moss “took her own life” . We deeply regret our error.
O Also, we wrote that Jimmy McWilliams is a UT professor of history. He’s a professor of history all right and a heckuva runner, but he’s at Texas State. Sorry.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Sonidos Gold,” by Grupo Fantasma, our very own kings of Texican power blues funk. They’ll be headlining KSGR’s Blues on the Green at Zilker Park on Wednesday night (July 9th).
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