Youth marathon runners and race day medical risk over 26 years

Clin J Sport Med. 2010 Jul;20(4):318-21. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181e6301d.


Objective: To report the number of marathon finishers younger than 18 years and race day medical encounters at the same site and to compare them with adult finishers.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Urban 42-km road race.

Participants: Twin Cities Marathon finishers.

Assessment of risk factors: The race records from 1982 to 2007 were assessed for finishers younger than 18 years to determine the number of finishers and medical encounters, incidence of race-related medical encounters, and type and severity of medical problems.

Main outcome measures: Age group marathon finishers and medical encounters.

Results: Three hundred ten marathon (225 boys and 85 girls) aged 7 to 17 years finished the race with times ranging from 2:53:22 to 6:10:00. There were 4 medical encounters (minor in nature and required no intervention beyond a short period of rest) for an incidence of 12.9 per 1000 finishers. The odds ratio for youth compared with adult finish line medical encounters was 0.52 (P = 0.2658; 95% confidence interval, 0.19-1.39).

Conclusions: Three hundred ten youth marathon successfully finished Twin Cities Marathon over 26 years with only 4 requiring post-race medical evaluations. The relative risk of requiring acute race day medical attention was less than, but not statistically different from, adult finishers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Running*
  • Severity of Illness Index