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This is a complicated question without an easy answer. BUT I was wondering if anyone here had any insight or informed opinions on the subject.
Some of the best runners I have known personally were women. Especially in the marathon distance arena. Yet all results in the large races, Olympics and any other head to head performance clearly shows that men are 5% to 10% faster than women.
Question WHY??? Sure men are generally bigger and have more muscle and bigger hearts and lungs BUT that is also more weight to carry down the road. I know I run MUCH faster at 178lbs that I do at 190 (that is my race weight vs my off season winter weight when I run less and lift weights for a change of pace)