Somatotype Characteristics of Female County to National Middle and Long Distance Runners
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The main objective of this paper was to establish whether there is a significant difference in somatotype component's between middle distance and long distance runners. All runners were expected to show low endomorphy and high ectomorphy and mesomorphy due to the nature of their event within athletics. Twenty female middle to long distance runners ranging from county standard to national standard participated in the study (n=20). Once the data was proven to be reliable, subjects were assessed according to the Heath-Carter method of somatotyping. An independent t-test was used to determine whether there were any statistically significant differences (p<0.05) in the somatotype components (endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy) between middle distance runners (800m/1500m) and long distance runners (1500m to 6 kilometres). It was found that there were no significant differences between the endomorphy (0.516), mesomorphy (0.099) or ectomorphy (0.209) component of middle distance and long distance runners The mean somatotype for middle distance runners was calculated as 2.5-3.9-3.3 ectomorphic mesomoprh (mesomorphy is dominant and ectomorphy is greater than endomorphy). The mean somatotype was calculated as 2.9-2.8-3.9 balanced ectomorph sector (ectomorphy is dominant and endomorphy and mesomorphy are equal (or do not differ by more than one-half unit). The long distance runners were slightly more ectomorphic and the middle distance runners were more mesomorphic. Although there were no large differences in the somatotype as a whole between elite and the sample used, the standard deviations for all anthropometric variables were higher for county to national long distance runners than the elite runners. Elite runners on average were shorter and lighter. All skin-fold measurements for elite runners were smaller therefore the percentage body fat would be lower. Elite runners bone breadths were smaller which is related to musculoskeletal development. Elite runners mean bicep girth was smaller but there calf girth was larger but only marginally. The findings indicate that to succeed as a female middle or long distance runner the ectomorphy and mesomorphy should be relatively high and endomorphy should be low. The findings are limited given the size of the sample.
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