Age vs Qualifying Time for US Women’s 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials

I recently wrote a post looking into the qualifying times and which races the record-number of participants in the 2020 Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials qualified. Today, I explore the race day ages and qualifying times of the women’s field.

Age vs Qualifying time for the 2020 US Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon.

Initial graph setup: qualifying time plotted on the horizontal (x) axis, while age increases up the vertical (y) axis. Each participant is represented by a red dot. Let’s have fun with statistics!

The average qualifying time of the field is 2:40:53. The average age of qualifier on the day of the Trials race is 31.38 years old. These are shown in gray dashed lines.  Standard deviation tells us how spread apart measurements in a group are: here, the average age has a standard deviation (or spread) of 5.12 years, so we look at a general clustering of ages from 26 to 37 years of age. This range is shown by the light teal band.

If we look at the top 20 times, we can see the average qualifying time in top 20 is 2:26:42, while the age is very similar to the field overall, just a shade older at 31.85 years of age. The standard deviation is smaller for the very elite, with qualifying times being spread over just under 4 years (so roughly, 28-36 years old), shown in dark teal.

Let’s look at what else stands out!

A few startling age outliers: the youngest racer is 16, while the oldest is 52 years of age. As noted previously, 25% of the field qualified in the last minute, with an age range from 21 – 52 years of age.

We also note the field has a nice tail in terms of older runners. This makes sense: runners gain experience over their career, experience which they use to continue to train and race at high levels. Indeed, masters  runners (over 40 years old) run very well, cracking 2:30 in one instance, and 2:35 several times. In fact, at least 36 of the women will be 40+ years of age on race day; 7% of the entire field.

What else is of interest to look at? How else would you like to see or talk about these runners and their information? I love data, and I love running, and would love your input, feedback, and questions. Also, go ahead and give a follow on Instagram, Twitter, or this blog! 

*To be noted: I found 483 ages of participants, admittedly, just shy of the entire 510-person field. The Atlanta Track Club just posted some cool statistics as well, however, I was too far in and worked with the original USATF information from 1/30/2020.

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