Fast men slow more than fast women in a 10 kilometer road race

Robert O. Deaner, Vittorio Addona, Rickey E. Carter, Michael J. Joyner, Sandra K. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background. Previous studies have demonstrated that men are more likely than women to slow in the marathon (footrace). This study investigated whether the sex difference in pacing occurs for a shorter race distance. Materials & Methods. Data were acquired from the Bolder Boulder 10 km road race for the years 2008-2013, which encompassed 191,693 performances. There were two pacing measures, percentage change in pace of the first 3 miles relative to the final 3.2 miles and percentage change in pace of the first mile relative to the final 5.2 miles. Pacing was analyzed as a continuous variable and as two categorical variables, as follows: "maintain the pace", defined as slowing < 5% and "marked slowing", defined as slowing ≥10%. Results. Among the fastest (men < 48.V40; women < 55.27) and second fastest (men < 53.54; women < 60.28) sex-specific finishing time sextiles, men slowed significantly more than women with both pacing measures, but there were no consistently significant sex differences in pacing among the slower four sextiles. For the fastest sextile, the odds for women were 1.96 (first pacing measure) and 1.36 (second measure) times greater than men to maintain the pace. For the fastest sextile, the odds for women were 0.46 (first measure) and 0.65 (second measure) times that of men to exhibit marked slowing. Multiple regression indicated that being older was associated with lesser slowing, but the sex difference among faster runners persisted when age was controlled. Conclusions. There was a sex difference in pacing during a 10 km race where glycogen depletion is not typically relevant. These results support the hypothesis that the sex difference in pacing partly reflects a sex difference in decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2235
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2016


  • Athletic performance
  • Decision making
  • Distance running
  • Endurance exercise
  • Gender
  • Marathon
  • Pacing
  • Risk taking
  • Road races
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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