Why Are More Women Running Mid-Life Marathons?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Aug. 15, 2011
  • Updated Aug. 15, 2011 at 6:46 AM UTC
Any increasing amount of middle-aged women are taking up the marathon. Photo: Mike Baird

One runner compares turning 40 to hitting the proverbial wall in the 26.2-mile race.

Any increasing amount of middle-aged women are taking up the marathon. Photo: Mike Baird

The trend is for real: more and more middle-aged women are finding themselves training for and enrolling in the marathon. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald seeks to get to the bottom of this trend. Clinical psychologist Jo Lamble laughed when she was asked about it.

“It’s very common, which is why I laughed when you said it,” she said of reporter Sarina Lewis’ question about mid-life marathons. “Fitness is probably the last thing. It starts off like that – the midlife crisis, thoughts about ageing and unmoved baby weight – and then they start going, ‘Wow, this is giving me something just for me.’ “

The increasing number of women runners since the 1970s is telling. One data point: In the 1971 edition of the City2Surf run in Sydney, only two percent of the field were women. By 2006, there were more women running the race than men.

One example of a woman taking up the marathon in her 40s is Kim Morrison, a mother of two and 43 years old. “Being in our 40s is like hitting the wall in the marathon where marriages seem to struggle,” she said.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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