Men Quit. Women Don’t.

Last week’s Boston Marathon results prove this statement true once again. In case you didn’t run this year or you missed the news coverage, the weather on Marathon Monday was horrendous – torrential rains, freezing temps and strong headwinds. And yet the women persevered toward the finish line, nearly eight times less likely to drop out.

What drives a person to continue forward through such miserable conditions? Sloshy shoes, icy fingers, zero visibility. More than 2,500 runners sought medical help on the course, 95 percent due to the cold weather and hypothermic symptoms. Many runners gave up before the finish line – most of them were men. The dropout rate for male runners was up 80 percent from 2017. For women, however, the number was a mere 12 percent higher than the previous year.

80 verses 12 percent is a huge statistical difference. What’s going on? How are women so tough and why are men such wimps? No one knows exactly what accounts for this difference, but it is well documented across various athletic challenges and conditions, including extreme heat. Women persevere.

One theory has to do with childbirth. We know women endure excruciating pain and suffering during childbirth and that many marathon finishers have given birth. They know the pain. Do women have a higher tolerance for pain and suffering? Researchers believe so.

Another theory has to do with expectations and decision-making. Men start races more aggressively and perceive the race as black or white, all or nothing, success or failure. When they hit a wall at mile 20 and realize their expectations may not be met, they drop out and go home. Women, on the other hand, adjust their expectations, focusing on the finish as the measure of success. They run smarter, pace themselves better, and slow down. They listen to their bodies. Men are balls-to-the-wall and try to push through barriers without much strategy behind their dumbass obstinance.

Whatever the reasons may be, the facts are well-documented: Women are tougher than men. At least they were at the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Dr. H.