World long-distance running elite: ethnicity-specific run energy efficiency analysis

Dr. Hab. V.D. Kryazhev1
Dr. Hab., Professor V.Y. Karpov2
PhD, Professor K.K. Skorosov3
PhD, Associate Professor V.I. Sharagin4
1Federal Scientific Center for Physical Culture and Sports, Moscow
2Russian State Social University, Moscow
3Penza State University, Penza
4Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow

Objective of the study was to analyze, on a mathematical and statistical basis, the African and European long-distance running elite energy efficiencies.
Methods and structure of the study. We collected for analysis the individual competitive performance data of the top-five European and top-five African runners from the 2019 top-100 list.
Sports results (LnT times) were converted into the mean distance speeds (V) and processed in Excel to produce V-LnT correlations. The critical running speed (Vcrit) was found based on the seventh-minute LnT (Ln 420 = 6.04).
Results and discussion. The high run energy efficiencies of the world leading Ethiopian and Kenyan middle- and long-distance runners may be due to the genetically predetermined lower limb metrics and habitual high-altitude living conditions that develop more energy efficient aerobic metabolism. The shorter shin circumference (minus 3 cm on average) secures more efficient mass-inertial performance of the distal leg segments and eases the mechanical work [6]; plus the lower shoulder of forces acting in the Achilles tendon contributes to the energy efficiency of the elastic elements in the musculoskeletal system.
Mathematical analysis of the competitive performance data and energy efficiency of elite long-distance runners demonstrated serious advantages of the East African runners over their European competitors secured by the lower metabolic demands on the distances and, hence, better energy efficiencies as a sound basis for their great competitive accomplishments despite the relatively lower aerobic maximums.

Keywords: long-distance running, mathematical modeling, run energy cost, run energy efficiency.

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