Run, Jane. Run. But only in your 20s?

The New York Times article, “See Jane Run. See Her Run Faster and Faster” discusses the finding that in local road races, women in their 40s and 50s are running faster 5Ks and 10Ks than women in their 20s and 30s. So that got me thinking (yikes). Living and racing in DC means that many of my road races aren’t exactly “local.” I’m not sure what “local” really means in this context, but I don’t think it means “first 3 finishers are pro runners.” So, I decided to take a look at what’s happening in a DC road race, namely the one I ran today.

The Run as One, Thomas G. Labrecque Classic is 3 years old in Washington, DC, and 5 years old in New York City. In 2007 and 2006, the DC race was a 5K (3.1 miles), held in the 3rd weekend of September. In 2005, the DC race was 4 miles, held in November, pretty darn near Thanksgiving. Now, the interesting part:

What strikes me about the 2007 DC statistics are the following:

  1. Approximately equal (but more women) numbers of men and women finishing (and presumably racing).
  2. Nearly twice as many women in the 20-29 group as men.

Similar to 2007, in 2006:

  1. Approximately equal (but more women) numbers of men and women finishing (and presumably racing).
  2. Many, many more women in the 20-29 group than men.

Finally, the 2005 stats:

So, at least in the DC series of races, there is a strong trend of nearly twice as many women in the 20-29 division completing the race,* as compared to men. The season and length of the race does not seem to be a factor. What about in NYC?

The NYC races were held in April and were each 4 miles long.

The most obvious things in the 2003 NYC race are:

  1. Approximately equal (but more men) numbers of men and women finishing (and presumably racing). Compare this with DC, which had more women, overall.
  2. The 20-29 group shows similar skewing….
  3. BUT, after age 29, for all age groups until 75, far more men completed the race.

It’s not as pronounced in 2004, but still more women than men are completing the race in the 20-29 age group, and men outnumber women in all other divisions….

Anyone have any clue what’s going on here? Especially in 2006 and 2007? The race is a fundraiser for the TGL Foundation for lung cancer education and research, so it’s not like it’s a cause that uniquely hits women in their 20s.

* I’m assuming that these stats are for people who are “running” the 5K, as opposed to walking. I don’t know about other years, but in 2007, the race had a separate and shorter “fun walk.”

2 thoughts on “Run, Jane. Run. But only in your 20s?

  1. My head hurts. A factor to consider — conflicting events? Expect lower numbers of 20-something girls if there’s a breast cancer run on the same day, or Fall Out Boy concert the night before.

  2. You’d think, right? But the opposite is happening: more 20-something gals running than 20-something men. So maybe there’s a x-tina concert the night before. Or college football game or something.

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