Age of peak performance of elite men in middle- and long-distance running in the Czech Republic between 1945–2019

Petr Bahenský, Tomáš Tlustý



Background: A peak performance age depends on several variables.

Objective: The aim of our study was to identify the peak performance age of athletes in the Czech Republic in terms of middle- and long-distance running and to find out whether it has changed over the years that is between 1945 and 2019.

Methods: We determined the peak performance age of top fifty, twenty and five runners each year. 22,350 available performances were analysed. Sources of our data were the yearbooks of the Czech Athletic Federation. We have also analysed the differences in peak performance ages across individual disciplines. To determine the statistical significance of the age difference of runners competing on individual tracks, we used the t-test, and through Cohen's d we determined the practical significance of these differences.

Results: The peak performance age is significantly higher (p = .0015 and less) for longer tracks as each shorter track demonstrated lower peak performance age. The age of the best runners in Czech Republic: 800 m: 23.92±1.77 years, 1500 m: 24.97±1.65, 3000 m steeple: 26.07±2.26 years, 5000 m: 26.51±2.30 years, 10000 m: 27.91±4.03 years, marathon: 30.88±2.42 years. We have observed the lowest age of runners during the period starting in the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.

Conclusions: The longer the track is, the higher the age of peak performance. This agrees with the physiological requirements of each disciplines, and it also corresponds with the maturity level of European athletes.


running; peak performance age; history; middle- and long-distance running; Czech Republic

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