What do Minnesota runners have in common with fine wines?
As we get older, we get better.
In a state-by-state breakdown of how marathoners rank, Minnesotans steadily move up the list as we age, going from 18th place for runners 20 to 29 years old all the way to sixth place for the 50-59 bracket. In fact, our 50-plus runners are faster than the under-30 marathoners in Mississippi.
This news comes from Jens Jakob Andersen, a statistician at the Copenhagen Business School. A former competitive runner who uses his spare time to amass and analyze data about running, he is known for his analysis that ultraexpensive running shoes often aren't worth the cost and his discovery that, on the whole, American runners are slowing down.
This time he crunched the times from nearly 6 million finishers in 3,828 marathons covering all 50 U.S. states over a 10-year period ending last year and came up with some intriguing stats that you can to ponder on your next training run:
• Across all age brackets, Minnesota marathoners rank 20th, with an average finish time of four hours, 35 minutes. Massachusetts (4:20) has the fastest runners; Mississippi (5:08) has the slowest.
• Minnesota women fare better than the men. Our female runners (average time 4:46) are ranked 15th in the country, while the men (4:26) come in at No. 26. Our women not only beat the men in Mississippi, they outpace the guys in Hawaii, too.
• We rank eighth in the country in terms of gender equality, with 48.6 of our participants being women. Hawaii leads in this category with 53.1 percent. New Jersey is at the bottom with 32.9 percent.
• Minnesotans ages 20-29 rank 18th in the country with an average time of 4:24:09. We rise to No. 13 for the 30-39 group (4:23:30), fall back slightly to 15th for 40- to 49-year-olds (4:29:50) and then blaze our way up to sixth for finishers 50 to 59 (4:36:39).
• The majority of Minnesota marathoners (55 percent) are 30 to 49. Those under 30 make up 28 percent of the field; runners 50 and over count for 17 percent.
• The average Minnesota marathoner is 42.2 years old. We are the oldest runners in the Upper Midwest. The folks from South Dakota (38.1), North Dakota (38.3), Iowa (40.4) and Wisconsin (40.9) all are younger than we are.
So what's it all mean? The only conclusion we can come to is that we're aging better than they are.
To read Andesen's complete report, go to runrepeat.com/the-ultimate-state-comparison-for-marathons