Participation and performance trends in 'Ultraman Hawaii' from 1983 to 2012.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Participation and performance trends have been investigated in a single stage Ironman triathlon such as the 'Ironman Hawaii,' but not for a multi-stage ultra-triathlon such as the 'Ultraman Hawaii' covering a total distance of 515 km. The aims of this study were to analyze (1) changes in participation and performance, (2) sex-related differences in overall and split time performances, and (3) the age of peak performance in Ultraman Hawaii. METHODS: Age and race times including split times for 98 women and 570 men who successfully finished Ultraman Hawaii (day 1 with 10-km swimming and 145-km cycling, day 2 with 276-km cycling, and day 3 with 84-km running) between 1983 and 2012 were analyzed. Changes in variables over time of annual winners and annual top three women and men were investigated using simple linear regression analyses. RESULTS: The number of female finishers increased (r2 = 0.26, p < 0.01), while the number of male finishers remained stable (r2 = 0.03, p > 0.05). Overall race times decreased for both female (r2 = 0.28, p < 0.01) and male (r2 = 0.14, p < 0.05) winners and for both the annual top three women (r2 = 0.36, p < 0.01) and men (r2 = 0.14, p = 0.02). The sex difference in performance decreased over time from 24.3% to 11.5% (r2 = 0.39, p < 0.01). For the split disciplines, the time performance in cycling on day 1 (r2 = 0.20, p < 0.01) and day 2 decreased significantly for men (r2 = 0.41, p < 0.01) but for women only on day 2 (r2 = 0.45, p < 0.01). Split times showed no changes in swimming and running. The age of the annual winners increased from 28 to 47 years for men (r2 = 0.35, p < 0.01) while it remained stable at 32 ± 6 years for women (r2 < 0.01, p > 0.05). The age of the annual top three finishers increased from 33 ± 6 years to 48 ± 3 years for men (p < 0.01) and from 29 ± 7 years to 49 ± 2 years for women (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Both the annual top three women and men improved performance in Ultraman Hawaii during the 1983-2012 period although the age of the annual top three women and men increased. The sex-related difference in performance decreased over time to reach approximately 12% similar to the reports of other endurance and ultra-endurance events. Further investigations are required to better understand the limiting factors of the multi-activities ultra-endurance events taking place over several days.
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Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2013, 2 (1), pp.25. 〈10.1186/2046-7648-2-25〉
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Dimirela Meili, Beat Knechtle, Christoph Rüst, Thomas Rosemann, Romuald Lepers. Participation and performance trends in 'Ultraman Hawaii' from 1983 to 2012.. Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2013, 2 (1), pp.25. 〈10.1186/2046-7648-2-25〉. 〈inserm-00851591〉

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