Last year I wrote an article about the gender gap in running. In the article, I talked about how the SRY gene is responsible for men getting a massive dose of testosterone, which leads to the 11-12% gender gap we see across all distances. Check out my full article here.
The one area where there has been some disputes/deniers of this 11-12% was over the longer distances. In my original article, I referenced this article. It showed that when marathon performance-matched men and women raced over 90K, the women won by 10%!
Some hypothesized that the women may have an advantage over longer distances due to physiological traits such as enhanced fat metabolism. There’s no doubt that enhanced fat metabolism would help over any distance, but this is true especially for longer distances where this substrate accounts for a higher percentage of our energy production.