Friday, February 27, 2009

Fast Women

The New York Times ran an article (ha ha -- sorry) this week about the rise of women in distance running. While this is hardly new news --
    (duh, just go outside and count the number of women and men you see running -- I estimate you'll find about 2/3 women -- ok, now I totally have to try that experiment, and get people to count in different cities across the project!)
-- I was glad to see the story.

And, because I am currently training for a marathon (or another), it got me interested in what the gender breakdown is of marathon runners these days.

Here are some quick stats I compiled from 2008 (based on finisher data):
  • Portland: 7,862 total; 4,152 female (52.8% female)
  • Walt Disney World: 12,964 total; 6,570 female (50.7% female)
  • Los Angeles: 17,239 total; 8,363 female (48.5% female)
  • Phoenix Rock 'n' Roll: 6,499 total; 2,977 female (45.8% female)
  • Eugene: 1,741 total; 770 female (44.2% female)
  • Chicago: 3,1345 toal; 13,666 women (43.6% female)
  • Boston: 22,377 total; 9,113 female (40.7% female)
  • London: 34,405 total; 10,725 female (31.2% female)
  • Stockholm: 13,546 total; 3,030 female (22.4% female)
Ok, so it's hard to pull out any trends from this small data set, but it kinda goal small to big and west to east ... kinda.

Also, for all those men who gripe that it's easier for women to qualify for Boston, this pretty much says, "You are complaining for no reason...Get out there and train!"

(Note: Doing this mini-analysis makes me miss working with data. I could totally get sucked into compiling age and gender statistics for races -- big and small -- all across the country! Seriously, few things are as uniformly put on the web as race results. It's a huge set of data just waiting to be analyzed.)

(Another note: Yes, that is me on the left in the photo. This is a picture that was taken at a cross-country race my freshman year that has persisted on the internet. It still pops on on the third page or so if you Google my name!)

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