Youth marathon runners and race day medical risk over 26 years

William O. Roberts, William G. Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-321
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010


  • adolescent runners
  • child runners
  • distance running
  • road racing

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