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Aging and marathon times in an 81-Year-Old man who competed in 591 marathons

  • David C. Brendle
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Baltimore Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • Lyndon J.O. Joseph
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Baltimore Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • John D. Sorkin
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Baltimore Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • Donald McNelly
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Baltimore Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • Leslie I. Katzel
    Correspondence
    Dr. Katzel’s address is: Baltimore VA Medical Center BT/18/GR, Baltimore, Maryland, 21201, USA.
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Baltimore Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    Search for articles by this author
      It has been hypothesized that the age-associated decline in maximal aerobic capacity (V̇O2max) is attenuated in healthy endurance-trained athletes who continue to engage in habitual exercise compared with sedentary persons.
      • Fleg J.L.
      • Lakatta E.G.
      Role of muscle loss in the age-associated reduction in VO2 max.
      ,
      • Heath G.
      • Hagberg J.M.
      • Ehsani A.A.
      • Holloszy J.O.
      A physiological comparison of young and older endurance athletes.
      ,
      • Pollock M.L.
      • Mengelkoch L.J.
      • Graves J.E.
      • Lowenthal D.T.
      • Linmacher M.C.
      • Foster C.
      • Wilmore J.H.
      Twenty-year follow-up of aerobic power and body composition of older track athletes.
      ,
      • Robinson S.
      • Dill D.B.
      • Tzarkoff S.P.
      • Wagner J.A.
      • Robinson R.D.
      Longitudinal studies of aging in 37 men.
      ,
      • Schwartz R.S.
      • Buchner D.M.
      Exercise in the elderly physiologic and functional effects.
      ,
      • Trappe S.W.
      • Costill D.L.
      • Vukovich M.D.
      • Jones J.
      • Melham T.
      Aging among elite distance runners a 22-year longitudinal study.
      However, data are disparate because some studies find no significant difference between the absolute decline in V̇O2max with age in athletes and their sedentary peers,
      • Rosen M.J.
      • Sorkin J.D.
      • Goldberg A.P.
      • Hagberg J.M.
      • Katzel L.I.
      Predictors of age-associated decline in maximal aerobic capacity a comparison of four statistical models.
      ,
      • Wilson T.M.
      • Tanaka H.
      Meta-analysis of the age-associated decline in maximal aerobic capacity in men relation to training status.
      or they find even greater absolute decreases in V̇O2max with age in athletes than in sedentary people.
      • Katzel L.I.
      • Sorkin J.D.
      • Fleg J.L.
      A comparison of longitudinal changes in aerobic fitness in older endurance athletes and sedentary men.
      ,
      • Tanaka H.
      • De Souza C.A.
      • Jones P.P.
      • Stevenson E.T.
      • Davy K.P.
      • Seals D.R.
      Greater rate of decline in maximal aerobic capacity with age in physically active versus sedentary healthy women.
      Therefore, this hypothesis remains controversial. In this case report we chronicle 3 decades of marathon training, racing, and aerobic capacity testing over a 12-year period in an 81-year-old man who has run 591 marathons. This study was approved by the University of Maryland Institutional Review Board and the subject signed informed consent for participation in this study.
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