Sixty male distance athletes were divided into three equal groups according to their personal best time for the 10km run. The runners were measured anthropometrically and each runner completed a detailed questionnaire on his athletic status, training programme and performance. The runners in this study had similar anthropometric and training profiles to other distance runners of a similar standard. The most able runners were shorter and lighter than those in the other two groups and significantly smaller skinfold values (P less than 0.05). There were no significant differences between the groups for either bone widths or circumferences but the elite and good runners had significantly higher ponderal indices (P less than 0.05) than the average runners, indicating that they are more linear. Elite and good runners were also less endomorphic but more ectomorphic than the average runners. The elite runners trained more often, ran more miles per week and had been running longer (P less than 0.05) than good or average runners. A multiple regression and discriminant function analysis indicated that linearity, total skinfold, the type and frequency of training and the number of years running were the best predictors of running performance and success at the 10km distance.
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