There was an interesting running question posted on Quora.com this week. (for those who don’t know Quora is a community based question and answer website.)
The question is: “Is there a distance for which men’s and women’s [running] world records converge?” In other words do women who generally have slower times at short distances catchup to the men at some longer distance?
The short answer is no, the men’s records seem to be about 10% faster than the women’s at all distances from 100 meters to 1000 miles. Of course there is quite a bit of variance. For example at 100 meters the men’s record is 9.58 seconds and the women’s is 10.49, a 9.5% advantage. But for 100k women are only 5.3% slower and at 1,000 miles the women’s record is 20% slower.
Of course this doesn’t say what the result would be if we considered the average of all competitive runners. That question would be much harder to answer because you would need a lot of data to settle it. My own unscientific opinion is that averaged over all runners it would converge at the really long distances. But what do I know.
In any event here is a link to the whole analysis: