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Open Access Research

Sex difference in Double Iron ultra-triathlon performance

Katrin Sigg1, Beat Knechtle124*, Christoph A Rüst1, Patrizia Knechtle2, Romuald Lepers3 and Thomas Rosemann1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

2 Gesundheitszentrum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland

3 INSERM U1093, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France

4 Facharzt FMH für Allgemeinmedizin, Gesundheitszentrum St. Gallen, Vadianstrasse 26, St. Gallen, 9011, Switzerland

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Extreme Physiology & Medicine 2013, 2:12  doi:10.1186/2046-7648-2-12

Published: 1 April 2013

Abstract

Background

The present study examined the sex difference in swimming (7.8 km), cycling (360 km), running (84 km), and overall race times for Double Iron ultra-triathletes.

Methods

Sex differences in split times and overall race times of 1,591 men and 155 women finishing a Double Iron ultra-triathlon between 1985 and 2012 were analyzed.

Results

The annual number of finishes increased linearly for women and exponentially for men. Men achieved race times of 1,716 ± 243 min compared to 1,834 ± 261 min for women and were 118 ± 18 min (6.9%) faster (p < 0.01). Men finished swimming within 156 ± 63 min compared to women with 163 ± 31 min and were 8 ± 32 min (5.1 ± 5.0%) faster (p < 0.01). For cycling, men (852 ± 196 min) were 71 ± 70 min (8.3 ± 3.5%) faster than women (923 ± 126 min) (p < 0.01). Men completed the run split within 710 ± 145 min compared to 739 ± 150 min for women and were 30 ± 5 min (4.2 ± 3.4%) faster (p = 0.03). The annual three fastest men improved race time from 1,650 ± 114 min in 1985 to 1,339 ± 33 min in 2012 (p < 0.01). Overall race time for women remained unchanged at 1,593 ± 173 min with an unchanged sex difference of 27.1 ± 8.6%. In swimming, the split times for the annual three fastest women (148 ± 14 min) and men (127 ± 20 min) remained unchanged with an unchanged sex difference of 26.8 ± 13.5%. In cycling, the annual three fastest men improved the split time from 826 ± 60 min to 666 ± 18 min (p = 0.02). For women, the split time in cycling remained unchanged at 844 ± 54 min with an unchanged sex difference of 25.2 ± 7.3%. In running, the annual fastest three men improved split times from 649 ± 77 min to 532 ± 16 min (p < 0.01). For women, however, the split times remained unchanged at 657 ± 70 min with a stable sex difference of 32.4 ± 12.5%.

Conclusions

To summarize, the present findings showed that men were faster than women in Double Iron ultra-triathlon, men improved overall race times, cycling and running split times, and the sex difference remained unchanged across years for overall race time and split times. The sex differences for overall race times and split times were higher than reported for Ironman triathlon.

Keywords:
Triathlon; Ultra-endurance; Swimming; Cycling; Running