Senior Runners Improve Marathon Performance

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Here I am finishing less year’s (2011) rain drenched Los Angeles Marathon

This is very good to know as I train for another Los Angeles Marathon.

Romauld Lepers and Thomas Cattagni, researchers from Inserm Unit 1093 “Cognition, Action and Sensorimotor Plasticity” at the Université de Bourgogone, have analysed changes in participation and performance of runners aged 20 to 80 in the New York marathon over the last 30 years. The results are largely unexpected: the best male marathon runners over 65 and the best female marathon runners over 45 have consistently improved their performance over the last 30 years. At the same time, the researchers also observed a strong increase in athletes over 40 participating in the New York marathon: from 36% of the total masculine runners between 1980-1989, to 53% between 2000-2009; and from 24 to 40% during the same periods for female runners.

I know the past two years, I have really stepped up my weight loss, and running training. I am running faster and farther.

I have never been a fast runner, but have managed to finish eight marathons, walking and running. These have been all at the Los Angeles Marathon – different courses though. Also, I have run a number of half marathons and other races (mainly for charity).

The researchers have thus concluded that, over the last two decades, the performances of the best male marathon runners over 65 and the best female marathon runners over 45 have particularly improved, whereas their younger counterparts have remained stable.

“The improved performances can be explained by the increased number of participants in these age categories, as well as the increased interest this age population has in terms of the benefits of physical activity on health and well being” says Romuald Lepers, whose research into motor function plasticity during aging is part of the overall research of Inserm Unit 1093 “Cognition, Action and Sensorimotor Plasticity,” directed by Thierry Pozzo.

In recent years, the gap in performance between men and women has stabilized, in all age categories, suggesting that the decline in physiological functions with age is similar for both sexes. The mechanisms via which physical activity acts advantageously in terms of slowing down aging-related processes remain to be explored. For the researchers, this initial data on athletes over 40, combined with new physiology and sociology data, will lead to improved understanding of the role physical exercise has in “aging well.”

This year I am hoping to improve my time by at least thirty minutes and more so in the years to come.


Does Running A Marathon Pose a Heart Risk?

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This is me finishing the Los Angeles Marathon in 2011

No, according to a new study.

Despite well-publicized stories of people dropping dead during or after running a marathon, the race isn’t all that risky, researchers found.

Among nearly 11 million marathoners and half-marathoners, only 59 went into cardiac arrest during a race, for an incidence rate of just 0.54 per 100,000 participants, Aaron Baggish, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Event rates among marathon and half-marathon runners are relatively low, as compared with other athletic populations, including collegiate athletes, triathlon participants, and previously healthy middle-aged joggers,” they wrote.

Men, however, were more likely to have an event than women, they noted.

In 2010, about two million people around the U.S. ran long-distance races, a figure that more than doubled from 10 years prior. But that growth has been accompanied by a rise in race-related heart problems and in news headlines about the risk of sudden death.

So the researchers created the Race Associated Cardiac Arrest Event Registry (RACER) to assess the incidence and outcomes of cardiac arrest associated with long-distance races in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 2000 and May 31, 2010.

The database included a total of 10.9 million runners; only 59 had suffered a cardiac arrest, for an overall incidence rate of 0.54 per 100,000 participants, the researchers reported. Their median age was 42.

A total of 71% of those cases were fatal.

As expected, rates of cardiac arrest were significantly higher during marathons than half-marathons (1.01 versus 0.27 per 100,000, respectively, P<0.001), as was the incidence of sudden death (0.63 versus 0.25 per 100,000, P=0.003).

I will be run/walk/running my 8th Los Angeles Marathon on March 18th.

By the way, I have already been cleared to run the race by my physician.

Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Roadrunners: Photos from March 12, 2011 Training Run

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Pace Leader Nancy with Patricia and Jaime in Venice

Here are some photos from my Los Angeles Roadrunners Run/Walk 5 Training Group which I snapped yesterday at Venice Beach and in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles Roadrunners is the official training group for next Sunday’s (March 20) Los Angeles Marathon.

Here a re a few more:

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Run/Walking down Santa Monica Pier

LA Marathon Finish Line - California and Ocean

The very important LA Marathon finish line at California and Ocean in Santa Monica

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Los Angeles Roadrunners 2010-2011 Run/Walk Group 5

Los Angeles Marathon

Honda LA Marathon Announces $4 Million Charity Challenge And Flap is Participating

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And, I won! But, more on that later.

From the press release:

Marathon officials today unveiled an aggressive charity fundraising campaign designed to raise $4 million in connection with the March 20, 2011 Honda LA Marathon Presented by K-Swiss. Through a new partnership with Crowdrise, an innovative fundraising website launched in 2010, the Marathon is making it easier than ever for runners to support the charity of their choice as part of the largest fundraising effort in the Marathons 26-year history.

Crowdrise is all about giving people the right tools to raise money for their favorite cause in a new, fun and compelling way, said actor and activist Edward Norton, who founded the online platform. The Honda LA Marathon is an event that truly connects the entire city, and it has the potential to be an incredible fundraising force as well.  We are thrilled to be on board this year to help unite the entire LA Marathon running community.

The $4 million fundraising target would double charitable totals from the 2010 race  which was already the largest in the races first 25 years.  The expanded charity program is in line with the vision of Marathon Owner Frank McCourt, who directed Marathon staff to make the charitable component of the race a much higher priority.

The marathon is not only a great running event, it is a civic asset for all of Los Angeles, and an opportunity to do a lot of good for our community, McCourt said. This partnership moves us one step closer to the day when every participant will raise funds for the charity of their choice.

So, I have a partner this year with me as I train and run/walk/run the Los Angeles Marathon – The Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Please go here and join my team and/or donate to this worthy cancer charity.

Yeah and I won because I type fast.

What did I win?

For my giving back to fight cancer, I received a VIP Fast Pass so I don’t have to wait in line for my race packet at the Expo and received access to a VIP Suite at the start line.

I probably won’t use either since I will be with my LA Roadrunner Group, but it is the thought, right?

And……it will make me FASTER!