Our study examines the current trends of runners participating in 10-kilometer road races in the United States. Finish times and ages of all runners participating in 10 of the largest 10-kilometer running races in the United States between 2002-2005 and 2011 were recorded. Linear regression analysis was performed to examine the trends for age, sex, and finishing time for all participants completing the course in less than one hour. A total of 408,296 runners were analyzed. There was a significant annual decrease in the ratio of men to women finishers (p < 0.001, r2 = 0.976). The average finishing time of the top 10 (men, p < 0.05), 100 (men & women, p < 0.05), and 1000 (men & women, p < 0.01) significantly decreased annually. The total number of sub-hour finishers increased annually across all races (194 men/yr, r2= 0.584, p = 0.045; 161 women/yr, r2= 0.779, p =0.008), while the percentage of overall finishers completing the course in less than an hour significantly declined for men and women (p <= 0.003). There was a significant trend toward younger men in all top groups except for the single fastest runner (p <= 0.017). Our study demonstrates that for large 10km U.S. races: the top men and women appear to be getting faster; there are more sub-hour finishers, with increasingly more women accomplishing this feat compared to men; an increasingly lower percentage of overall finishers are finishing in less than one hour; and the fastest men are also increasingly younger.
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