Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The conquest of a male space

Women have taken over the world of distance running:
Women and girls, not long ago an afterthought in distance running, now own it.

They made up 57% of the 17 million U.S. race finishers in 2015, according to industry-backed tracker Running USA. That includes everything from 3.1-mile trots before Thanksgiving dinner to 26.2-mile marathons.

Mary Wittenberg, former director of the New York City Marathon, says races for women have become less common as they have become 57% of all U.S. race finishers. ENLARGE

Many women run to win prize money or medals. Millions more have taken to treadmills, sidewalks and running trails to achieve personal bests, socialize and improve overall health.

Mary Wittenberg, CEO of Virgin Sport, is a longtime runner and the former CEO of New York Road Runners, which operates the New York City Marathon. She notes that there are fewer women-only events than there used to be because at most races, women are the majority....

Women’s groups like Ms. Carey’s are helping further diversify running, Ms. Wittenberg says. Participation of racial minorities has climbed in recent years, according to Running USA.

“It would just be great to see the men’s side see growth, too,” she says.

Instead of running, some younger men especially have joined the trend toward weightlifting and high-intensity interval training. Overall participation in road races has dropped in the past two years as millennials have shown less interest in running than older adults. Average finishing times for men and women also have slowed down as race fields have gotten older and grown to include more recreational runners.

For many women, running is less a competition than a social experience.
What I find interesting is the chart below. Its exactly what you'd expect. Male participation begins to decline once women take over, because women like to participate in male activities, but men do not like to participate in female activities. One of the reason soccer remains so popular across Europe is that women do not play it, nor are they usually included in the post-game dinners.

38 comments:

Dexter said...

"Virgin" is a highly inaccurate term to apply to anything American women do.

"some younger men especially have joined the trend toward weightlifting and high-intensity interval training."

Yes and the guys are often driven out of "normal" gyms by women whining about them grunting and dropping those nasty heavy weights. Thus the growth of old-school black iron gyms.

slarrow said...

Also, as the number of men drop, so down the women, almost perfectly mirroring the men. It reflects the kind of woman who doesn't want to be there if the men aren't there, while the male trend reflects the kind of man who doesn't want to be there if the women are there.

ThirdMonkey said...

Meh. LD running is a testosterone-sucker, so let 'em have it. The first person to ever run a marathon died at the end, so that should be a clue as to it's health benefits. Women like running because they can do it with a group of friends, yammering away about nonsensical drivel while at the same time feel like they are accomplishing something beneficial. I hate running. If I am running, it is because I am either out of ammo or sprinting to a superior weapon. I can go lift with another guy for an hour or more and our conversation is limited to pointing at plates and grunting. As lifting is a testosterone booster, I don't see it being taken over by women, at least in my garage gym. More T = ZFG, especially about female inclusivity. The few chicks that I know who lift learned very quickly that lifting is about goals and achievement, not socializing, so they tend to focus more on the work and less on the clucking.

Matamoros said...

One can only wonder at the damage these women are doing to their bodies, particularly their joints, as they wear out their bodies years early.

Trimegistus said...

I think part of the problem is that you know you're not going to win a marathon. The winner will be one of the dozen or so professional East African distance runners who win all the marathons. Nobody really wants to compete for the "fastest white guy" participation trophy.

Usagi said...

What the WSJ article didn't say - in many of these races, one will find a large number of land-whales (or nearly so) who *walk* in the race. It gets downright dangerous for a man to run the entire race, as it more closely resembles a human blubber obstacle course. I never ran a lot (only 5k races), but I had to stop due to the danger involved - what if I tripped over one and then two or three of these 300-pound behemoths fell on me?

Usagi said...

What the WSJ article didn't say - in many of these races, one will find a large number of land-whales (or nearly so) who *walk* in the race. It gets downright dangerous for a man to run the entire race, as it more closely resembles a human blubber obstacle course. I never ran a lot (only 5k races), but I had to stop due to the danger involved - what if I tripped over one and then two or three of these 300-pound behemoths fell on me?

Dalrock said...

Yes and the guys are often driven out of "normal" gyms by women whining about them grunting and dropping those nasty heavy weights. Thus the growth of old-school black iron gyms.

Ah, but according to the marketing fantasy world, women are taking over training to be strongmen and fighters, while men now focus on yoga.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRBb_wMc_o8

Unknown said...

"some younger men especially have joined the trend toward weightlifting and high-intensity interval training."

Ah, yes. Functional strength and endurance through HIIT are the means to long term health and solid body functioning as we age. LD running is just plain bad for you and a sop to addiction to the runners' "high", through endorphin release.

If women understood a damned thing about fitness "I'd have to fight for time at the squat rack, but I don't. Women are rarely seen squatting and doing other real exercises which would keep their bodies in prime shape as they age. They'd much rather do yoga and work the boring and worthless elliptical machines. As noted you can chat gaily engaging in those activities.

michael savell said...

Marathons in the UK and most of Europe are usually run for charity except for the
professionals who are racing for all sorts of prizes.Every race is won by a kenyan
or ethiopian ,the rest of the professionals may as well stay at home,so they do.
The female race is no better and,no doubt,if they had to race the men,no women would enter.The plebs do it for fun.

Jon M said...

"What the WSJ article didn't say - in many of these races, one will find a large number of land-whales (or nearly so) who *walk* in the race. It gets downright dangerous for a man to run the entire race, as it more closely resembles a human blubber obstacle course."

Those cows are great. They help subsidize the costs for the rest of us. If you're moving at any sort of reasonable pace at all, you'll leave them behind in the first five minutes of the event.

The big problem is the whales that don't understand the etiquette of 'start where you expect to finish'. Most of them get that they are slow movers, and at the starting line they set up at the back of the pack. It's the inconsiderate old sows that want to start on the starting line for their long hike that get in the way.

"I think part of the problem is that you know you're not going to win a marathon."

Knowing you will never win a marathon should no more keep you from running than knowing you will never win a power lifting competition should keep you from shoving heavy metal back and forth.

Hammerli280 said...

I think there's something else going on. Men are looking for a validation of their True Manhood. Participation in a predominantly male sport is one path to that. Weightlifting is manly. Martial arts/sports are manly. Shooting is manly. Running? Less so.

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

Long Distance running is the worst exercise. Crossfit, sprinting, powerlifting, HIIT, all so much better.

Unknown is right. Men don't send each other pictures of female runners.

Anchorman said...

Hammer,
I think that's what Vox is saying. Any predominantly male activity lets men compete to see where they rank. When women enter the scene, it is no longer an activity that ranks men among men. It becomes devalued for that need we have to complete exclusively against other men.

This is why entryism is poison. It will diminish the special nature of the competition and make it just another activity.

VFM #7634 said...

Women are less likely to invade weightlifting and MMA.

One Fat Oz Guy said...

Love how they explain that finishing times are getting worse because of aging. Sure it's not because the women (and beta males who don't want to upstage them) aren't as competitive and are killing the sport?

Jon M said...

For another great story on women and distance running, take a look at Kate Switzer. The Boston Marathon was once men-only, and in 1967 she crashed the course and became a national hero for equality and opening up gender exclusive events to everyone. Because of equality, you see.

Five years later she was instrumental in getting the Boston Marathon to give the women runners a 30-minute head start. Women couldn't compete with men, and by the time the first woman crossed the finish line, nobody cared anymore. They had to Harrison Bergeron up the joint because being slower made the female runners feel bad.

Yeah. But wait, it gets better.

In 1972 she founded the New York Mini 10K, the nation's first race for women only.

Utterly shameless.

Timmy3 said...

Running isn't a competitive sport for most participants. There's the top ranked and everyone else. Much long distance running is expensive themed running events or charities. There's no point in winning the medals unless you like to collect expensive swag. Women like starting a personal collection. Men are caught up in this too. The sport is not as important.

Aeoli Pera said...

Distance running is for masochists. 50 Miles of Gray Asphalt.

Aeoli Pera said...

Shit, that joke would have been better as 50 km (approx. a marathon).

Aeoli Pera said...

Anyway, masochists are predominantly women.

Bob Loblaw said...

Yes and the guys are often driven out of "normal" gyms by women whining about them grunting and dropping those nasty heavy weights. Thus the growth of old-school black iron gyms.

Suits me fine. A room full of yoga mats, shiny chromed five pound dumbbells, and stair stepping machines isn't a "gym".

Cataline Sergius said...

Women have taken over the world of distance running:

Good news! We're taking it back

Male Girls Win First Track and Field Title Since 1972

Cataline Sergius said...

Stg58/Animal Mother said...
Long Distance running is the worst exercise.


Where? Oh, where could you have picked up a loathing for that I wonder?

liberranter said...

One can only wonder at the damage these women are doing to their bodies, particularly their joints, as they wear out their bodies years early.

Schadenfreude assumes yet another new form.

HardReturn¶ said...

Wonder if that's a reason so many men in recent years have been gravitating towards Tough Mudder and other kinds of extreme obstacle/challenge courses--to get away from the nattering womenfolk of marathons. Also there's a lot more virtue-signaling in marathon running nowadays, as if others somehow ought to care. We don't.

Revelation means hope said...

A big positive out of all these women running is that it gets them off their fat a$$es and into some nice running tights. And if they don't want their friends secretly judging them being fat in their yoga tights, they have to eat a little better too. Plus all the extra entries keep the overall costs a little better.

However, since they are big on swag and useless stuff, this conversely runs the price of entry way up. Also, safety officers, and all the rest of crap that comes with letting women into any endeavor ends up making one of these events a real pain to plan and execute.

Just put on a long camping trip for 41 families. Zero problems with the fathers, but man some of those mothers are a PITA! At least since it wasn't an American group, there were absolutely zero fatties in the 150 people.

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

Revelation means hope,

If women really wanted to get off their fat bottoms (Although they do make the world go round)they would hit the gym, the squat racks, the deadlift platforms, etc. My sister is very proud of herself now that her deadlift 1RM is 135. Running makes you look like you escaped from Auschwitz.

Jim said...

For the last 15 years I've been going to my local Y, which is a convenient, clean, well-equipped facility. In that time I've never seen one of the heavy gals on the treadmills or ellipticals lose any weight no matter how many hours they spend on the machines. Not one. I have seen already attractive women get pregnant and then lose the weight to get hot again, but they are few and far between.

Jim said...

For the last 15 years I've been going to my local Y, which is a convenient, clean, well-equipped facility. In that time I've never seen one of the heavy gals on the treadmills or ellipticals lose any weight no matter how many hours they spend on the machines. Not one. I have seen already attractive women get pregnant and then lose the weight to get hot again, but they are few and far between.

Amy said...

Lifting heavy is where it's at for fat loss. I enjoy running mid-distances but as a supplemental activity to weight training. Hit a trail for 4 -5 miles on the weekend or whatever. Nothing reshape do me after having kids like picking things up and putting them down. My Big Three maxes make me happy.

A lot of women STILL have the notion that lifting weights equals Arnold levels of muscle. Never going to happen, unless you make synthetic T or clenbuterol your friends.

But to the point about invading men's spaces. Too right. I won't enter races because it's no fun trying to get around a group of hens cluck-walking their way through the course. I'm not fast but I like to move, and prefer solitude.

Women in the weight room? Stick to your workout and don't make unnecessary small talk. The less you say, the better. If you can run your mouth, you're not working hard enough anyway.

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

Cataline,

Nine years of lo-righty-left.

Revelation means hope said...

Sure, lifting is better for women who want to be in the sexiest shape, but I'll take the thinner and scrawnier runner shape 365 days a year over the land whale look.

Personality-wise, the gym bunnies seem to be friendlier than the type A runners, however.

Austin Ballast said...

@HardReturn,

The Tough Mudder videos show a lot of women.

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

Rmh,

Yes obviously but women can choose the gym over the street. Your choice isn't just whale vs stick.

RobertT said...

For 20 years I ran at least five miles every single day. Day, night, hot, cold, snow, rain, hurricane, whatever. Now that you mention it, I noticed this gradual shift. At one time more men ran than lifted. Not any more. Today some men do run, but most seem to be tri's. From my exposure, still more tri men than women. I put the running thing off to the fad effect wearing off. The tennis fad, the bowling fad, the running fad. Hula hoops. Pet rocks.

Otto Lamp said...

"Instead of running, some younger men especially have joined the trend toward weightlifting and high-intensity interval training."

This is a good thing, as they are better suited to the male anatomy.

Actually, I've never thought long distance running was suited to anyone's anatomy. From what I've read, marathon runners end up causing as many physical problems as they cure.

Wrangler said...

Man, I don't know what you guys are talking about, my crossfit gym is 70% chicks. I guess Bro-sesh is still mostly male. It is the only thing I hate about Crossfit. Great workouts, but not interested in pussy at the gym.

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