Physiological, Spatiotemporal, Anthropometric, Training, and Performance Characteristics of a 75-Year-Old Multiple World Record Holder Middle-Distance Runner

Bas Van Hooren*, Guy Plasqui, Romuald Lepers

*Corresponding author for this work

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PURPOSE: This study assessed the cardiorespiratory capacity, anaerobic speed reserve, and anthropometric and spatiotemporal variables of a 75-year-old world-class middle-distance runner who previously obtained several European and world records in the age categories of 60-70 years, achieved 13 European titles and 15 world champion titles, and also holds several European records for the 75-year-old category.

METHODS: Heart rate, oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide production, ventilation, step frequency, contact time, and velocity at maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) were measured during treadmill running. Maximal sprinting speed was assessed during track sprinting and used to compute anaerobic speed reserve. Body fat percentage was assessed using air displacement plethysmography.

RESULTS: Body fat percentage was 8.6%, VO2max was 50.5 mL·kg-1·min-1, maximal ventilation was 141 L·min-1, maximum heart rate was 164 beats·min-1, maximum respiratory exchange ratio was 1.18, and velocity at VO2max was 16.7 km·h-1. The average stride frequency and contact time during the last 30 seconds of the 4-minute run at 10 km·h-1 were 171 steps·min-1 and 241 ms and 187 steps·min-1 and 190 ms in the last 40 seconds at 17 km·h-1, respectively. The anaerobic speed reserve was 11.4 km·h-1, corresponding to an anaerobic speed reserve ratio of 1.68.

CONCLUSION: This 75-year-old runner has an exceptionally high VO2max and anaerobic speed reserve ratio. In addition, his resilience to injuries, possibly due to a relatively high volume of easy runs, enabled him to sustain regular training since his 50s and achieve international performance in his age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number2
Early online date30 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

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