In 2018, more women than men ran marathons for the first time, according to a new study.
The percentage of female marathon runners increased dramatically from 20% in 1986 to just over 50% in 2018, making it the first year that more women than men ran marathons.
At the same time, marathon runners were never older.
The average age of runners around the world has steadily increased from 35.2 in 1986 to 39.2 in 2018.
The average age of marathon runners increased from 38 in 1986 to 40 in 2018, according to the study, a collaboration between the Danish research company Run Repeat and the International Association of Athletics Federation.
The average age of general runners also increased further from 35.2 in 1986 to 39.3 in 2018.
The average female runner is 36 while the average male runner is 40.
These demographic changes have posed some challenges for marathon organizers across the country.
Runners of all distances have grown steadily over the years, and marathon runners are the oldest, with an average age of 40.
"Twenty years ago, you ran a marathon," Virginia Brophy Achman, one of the organizers of the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis-St.Paul, told the star tribune.
“ But [baby] boomers are getting older, and younger people have a lot of options – not just shorter, easier-to-run races, but going to the gym, doing CrossFit, yoga and cycling & # 39; & # 39 ;
The Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis-St. Paul saw the number of marathon runners decrease as people developed interests in other fitness activities, including CrossFit, yoga, and cycling.
"They are combining travel with a race."
& # 39; Our biggest challenge, and I think the industry as a whole, is to have an impact on this demography.
The Twin Cities Marathon, as seen in the sprint registrations, increases while participants in the full marathon have declined.
Today, marathon runners seem less interested in optimizing their times than in experience.
"Perhaps the average runner today is more focused on a good experience than on an achievement than before – not to mention overshadowing the reason for the achievement, but saying that perhaps the achievement means less today relative to his own experience," say the study authors.
Iceland is the nation with the highest percentage of female runners, with 59%.
The United States has the second highest percentage of female runners, with 58%, followed by Canada, Ireland and Australia.
The countries with the highest percentage of male runners are Switzerland, Japan, India, Italy, and Korea.
The United States has the second highest percentage of runners in the world, second only to Iceland. Switzerland has the lowest percentage of female runners
The growing popularity of ultra marathons and other extreme running events may also have contributed to some declines in completion times, as fewer skilled or experienced runners are still competing.
The average completion time for men and women has increased over the past 30 years.
Marathon completion times have increased for men and women, something the researchers say may be caused by expert runners shifting focus to ultra marathons and other extreme races.
In 1988, the average woman finished a marathon in four hours and 13 minutes.
By 2018, women's average arrival time rose to four hours and 51 minutes.
For men, the arrival time in 1988 was three hours and 45 minutes and in 2018 rose to four hours and 21 minutes.
WHY ARE MARATHONS 26.2 MILES?
The marathon was inspired by the legend of Philippides, who allegedly ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to warn the Greeks that a Persian army was invading.
The distance from Marathon to Athens was approximately 40 kilometers.
The first marathon was played during the inaugural Olympic Games in 1896.
The original distance was 40,000 meters, or 24.85 miles.
Only 25 people competed in the marathon and only 9 finished.
Spyridon Louis won the first marathon with a completion time of 2 hours and 58 minutes.
At the London Olympics in 1908, the distance was increased to 42 km to ensure that the route passed in front of the royal family's observation box.
The first women's marathon was held during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.