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How old are you? Not too old to run!

September 24, 2011

Researchers in Germany found "no relevant differences in the [marathon] finishing times of people between the ages of 20 and 50".

[caption id="attachment_1013" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The start of the 2009 Berlin Marathon. Paula Radcliffe, 37, and Haile Gebrselassie, 38, are among the favorites to win the marathon this year, despite being considered over the hill."]2009 Berlin marathon[/caption]

In this weekend's Berlin Marathon, the men's and women's world record holders will both be going out on the comeback track. Paula Radcliffe (37) and Haile Gebrselassie (38) are each returning to competition after some time off and both are among the favorites to win this race.

The New York Times noted that:

A few years ago researchers at the German Sports University Cologne took a close look at the finishing times of 400,000 marathon and half-marathon runners between the ages of 20 and 79. They found no relevant differences in the finishing times of people between the ages of 20 and 50. The times for runners between 50 and 69 slowed only by 2.6 to 4.4 percent per decade. “Older athletes are able to maintain a high degree of physiological plasticity late into life,” the researchers wrote.

So, enough of deciding to be lazy today. There's a world out there to conquer. You might not be competing as an elite runner in one of the World Marathon Majors races, but you can certainly be part of the movement noted by Running USA which found that "[i]n 1980, the median age for a marathon runner was 34 for men and 31 for women. By last year, the age had risen to 40 for men and 35 for women. People over 40 now comprise 46 percent of finishers, up from 26 percent in 1980. "

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