Best female ultra-endurance athletes

Last Updated: April 18, 2022By

Women are going out and beating the men, as they are the best female ultra-endurance athletes. And finding their feet with ultra-events. In some of the most desired Europe’s courses, an enthusiastic lady Fiona kolbinger, cycled 2,485 miles which are 3,999 km, in just 10 days 2 hours, and 48 minutes, whoa! Amazing. Over the landscape, she had to face the challenges of thunderstorms, blistering heat, and heavy rainfall.

The phenomenal thing is that the German cyclist took part in the mega-cycling competition for the very first time and became the first woman to win the event Transcontinental race.

She finished the tough journey from Bulgaria to France, a span of 10 hours, through a  competition with her closest opponent. What a determination! that withstands the harsh weather conditions along with such a close rivalry.

“I am so, so surprised to win,” she said. “When I was coming into the race I thought that maybe I could go for the women’s podium, but I never thought I could win the whole race.”

Fiona Kolbinger was more astonished because her victory proved to be an addition, to the figure of wins, achieved by female ultra-endurance athletes in immediate years.

Jasmin Paris, in January 2019, won the 268 miles Mountain Spine race in the UK. She finished the race in 83 hours, 12 minutes, and 23 seconds, and broke a previous record by 12 hours. As a runner, she didn’t forget the responsibility of a mother and expressed breast milk to her baby at the aid station along the way. The British runner stood first in the competition.

A British junior doctor, Katie Wright, conquered 6 women and 40 men by running continuously for nearly 30 hours, in Riverhead Backyard ReLaps Ultra-marathon in New Zealand. The event was held in May.

Is this implies that women are better ultra-endurance athletes? If so, then why?

Probably, some physical features are major attributes. A senior lecturer in applied psychology at Sheffield Hallam University, Dr. Nicholas Tiller said that generally, women have a greater distribution of slow-twitch muscle fibers which are more resistant to fatigue and more suited to endurance.

He further added women are not able to compete with men in shorter distances, like marathons. It is because men possess bigger muscles and greater maximal capacities like strength and aerobic power.

By completing in 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 38 seconds, Eliud Eliud Kipchoge was the winner of Marathon 2019. Brigid Kosgei, took just 16 minutes longer and became the winner of the woman’s race.

 Reasons, why women are better at ultra-endurance marathons than endurance marathons

Dr. Tiller, an ultra-marathon runner too, said “One of the reasons why women tend to be able to compete with men and sometimes outperform them. It is that the greater maximal capacities exhibited by men aren’t as important in an ultra-endurance event.”

Moreover, he said that in ultra-endurance races sportspersons are not putting as much effort as their capacity is. The surroundings, mental strength, and oxygen efficiency play a vital role.

Although women don’t outperform men in endurance sports, ultra-endurance sports are much more closely contented, he said. “Ultra-marathons are the great equalizer,” Dr. Tiller said, “because there are no other sports where men and women can compete side by side in terms of physicality.”

Fiona Oakes, an ultra-marathon runner and bearer of four world records, said The “longer the distance, the less of a gap between men and women.”

She was enlightened by the fact during a marathon in the North Pole. She briefed BBC, “Certainly from when I’ve done races, women manage themselves in a completely different way,”

“It’s a completely different psyche that the women have,” she said. “During the North Pole race, a lot of the men tended to zoom off very quickly. Particularly in that race, it’s imperative that you start at the pace you’re going to finish in because if you don’t and you slow down in the race, you’re going to get hypothermia.”

Dr. Carla Meijen, a senior lecturer in applied sport psychology at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, told that women may be performing brilliantly in ultra-endurance sports due to their hold on emotions.

She said: “When we think about ultra-endurance events, one of the things that’s quite prevalent is emotions. Because you get fatigued, sleep deprivation, and tiredness and that causes things like confusion and less helpful emotional responses.”

Typically females use more emotion-focused coping so they focus more on how to reframe what they are feeling than males in general. That might be a reason why they may be more suited to those ultra-endurance events.

Jasmine Paris took a rest for just 7 hours out of 83 just to organize her kit, to eat, and to sleep. Happy end of the contest she started hallucinating, she felt that animals are appearing out from each rock.

An American ultra-marathon runner Courtney Dauwalter, 2017 competed and won the 238-mile MOAB race in less than 58 hours. She slept for 21 minutes only.

In another hundred 100 Miles ultra-endurance race, she ran for the last 12 miles in a situation. When she was unable to see, what she made happen. Her vision was recovered in 5 hours.

She told the trail Runner that she had fallen many times but she kept on running and ended up having a head injury.

“I didn’t fully process what was happening. At the moment, I was just thinking ‘I’m in this race, I need to keep moving,” while an interview she told the magazine.

Best female ultra-endurance athletes

Dr. Meijen, Paul Anstiss, and Professor Samuele Marcora from the University of Kent

share the results of their research. The founded the women became strengthen ultra-endurance athletes after a previous experience like childbirth etc.

Some female participants said: “Events such as childbirth had helped them to deal with the pain. And meant they had more belief in themselves so that they could push through the pain,” Dr. Meijen said. “When you think about ultra-endurance, it is a very painful experience.”

She said that very little research has been made on female athletes than male athletes because “a lot of research did not compare them”.

Dr. Bryce Carlson, an ultra-marathon runner and the first American to accomplish the 2,000-mile (3,218km) North Atlantic west-to-east-solo row. And declared that it is not sufficient to decide whether the female ultra-endurance athletes are better than males.

“In some years, a woman can win outright,” he said. “When that happens, it’s a really small sample size, where you have an elite female runner who has trained really hard and well. And has great skill in the sport, and the competition in the men’s sport might not be that high.”

Dr. Bryce also told that Ann Trason, an ultra-endurance runner carried on defeating men and making new records in ultra-endurance marathons from the late 1980s to 2004.

The title of “ultra runner of the year” was her head’s crown for more than a decade. She participated in races from 40 to 100 miles. Her persistent pushes to the triumph button were really threatening for men.

Dr. Carlson said: “There was a lot of discussions that time whether you did longer and longer distances. Whether the female/male strength gap closes to the point where women and men are competing on an equal footing.”

He added that more and more women were taking part in the competitions for the next 30 years of that debate. But still men surpassed the women.

The maker of 4 world records Fiona Oakes, observed that, “women haven’t been in these events for that long but that nowadays women were improving so much quicker than the men”.

There weren’t that many women even competing in the race. Now they’re getting up into the top 20 alongside the men in these ultra-endurance races.

“Women are actually going out there and beating the men. We’re going to see it much more often. They’re finding their feet with ultra-events and you will see many more women rising to the top.”

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