Marathon Runners, Young and Old, Post Similar Finish Times

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Age has little effect on marathon times, according to a new study, with reports saying runners will finish with similar times during their youth compared to those during their late 50s.

Researchers at Camilo Jose Cela University in Madrid, Spain say people who’ve run marathons for decades will cover a course in about the same time at age 18 that they do between the ages of 55 and 60.

Scientist Juan Del Coso Garrigos explains that runners’ times generally improve dramatically between 18 and 29 and then tail off slightly each subsequent year until both men and women marathoners equal their times as a teen when they hit 55. After that, the drop-off turns pretty steep.

In essence, a person’s marathon times during the course of a long running career forms a U-shape.

The study involved looking at the times of the top ten finishers in every age group from 18 to 75 for both males and females who took part in the 2010 and 2011 New York City Marathons.

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