Murat Cenk Çelen

Did Running Events Recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Participation, Performance and Pacing Strategies in the Stuttgart-Lauf Half Marathon from 2019 to 2023

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Health (social science)

Objectives: This study was an investigation of the participation and performance metrics and pacingstrategies employed among virtual half marathoners by examining the experiences of runners of theStuttgart Lauf, before, during, and after the COVID-19 era. Methods: The results of the top 25 femaleand top 25 male athletes in the Stuttgart-Lauf Half Marathon from 2019 to 2023 were obtained from theevent’s official website. A comparative analysis was conducted between the in-person races held in 2019,2022, and 2023, and the virtual races held in 2020 and 2021, focusing on participation rates, performanceoutcomes, and pacing strategies. Participation in virtual events was observed to be lower than in-personevents. Results: For the top 25 male finishers, the fastest year was 2019 and the slowest year was 2021.For the top 25 female finishers, the fastest year was 2023, and the slowest year was 2021. However, thefinish time differences across years were not statistically significant. Conclusion: Virtual running eventsexhibit disparities in terms of participation rates, performance outcomes, and pacing strategies whencompared to in-person events. The many differences observed in running events during the pandemichave disappeared, and the events have continued to exhibit characteristics like the pre-pandemic period.

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