Effects of warming temperatures on winning times in the Boston Marathon
Miller-Rushing, Abraham J.
Primack, Richard B.
Kaufmann, Robert K.
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Citation (published version)Abraham J Miller-Rushing, Richard B Primack, Nathan Phillips, Robert K Kaufmann. 2012. "Effects of Warming Temperatures on Winning Times in the Boston Marathon." PLOS ONE, Volume 7, Issue 9, 5 pp. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043579
It is not known whether global warming will affect winning times in endurance events, and counterbalance improvements in race performances that have occurred over the past century. We examined a time series (1933–2004) from the Boston Marathon to test for an effect of warming on winning times by men and women. We found that warmer temperatures and headwinds on the day of the race slow winning times. However, 1.6°C warming in annual temperatures in Boston between 1933 and 2004 did not consistently slow winning times because of high variability in temperatures on race day. Starting times for the race changed to earlier in the day beginning in 2006, making it difficult to anticipate effects of future warming on winning times. However, our models indicate that if race starting times had not changed and average race day temperatures had warmed by 0.058°C/yr, a high-end estimate, we would have had a 95% chance of detecting a consistent slowing of winning marathon times by 2100. If average race day temperatures had warmed by 0.028°C/yr, a mid-range estimate, we would have had a 64% chance of detecting a consistent slowing of winning times by 2100.
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