The science of attraction
There is a fascinating school of scientific thought that maintains that how far you run can actually dictate how much sex you get. More specifically, the study concerned suggests that male long-distance runners are more attractive to the ladies than fellas who get out of breath after a 200m huff-and-puff to the corner shop. And it’s nothing to do with bulging calf muscles, toned forearms or washboard abs.
The research was carried out by researchers from the University of Cambridge and University College London, who analysed 542 male competitors taking part in the Robin Hood Half Marathon and discovered that the better the runner, the more likely they were to have the opposite sex swooning at their feet.
‘Long-distance running may be a lonely pastime – but academics say men who can run for miles may find it easier to attract women,’ reported Thedaily Mail. ‘People who are better at running half marathons are likely to have been exposed to high levels of testosterone while in the womb, researchers from Cambridge University theorised. This means they not only have better cardiovascular efficiency but also a strong sex drive and high sperm count, suggesting that historically they were chosen by women as more desirable mates.
‘This may be because “persistence hunting” (exhausting prey by tirelessly tracking it) was a vital way to get food. It means that men who could run long distances were more attractive to women – a trait the researchers say has persisted through the generations.’ The boffins discovered by photocopying the runners’ handprints and measuring race times and other data that the best half marathoners tended to have longer ring fingers, which is often a sign that they had been exposed to higher than average levels of testosterone in the womb.
‘The observation that endurance-running ability is connected to reproductive potential in men suggests that women in our hunter-gatherer past were able to observe running as a signal for a good breeding partner,’ explained Dr Danny Longman, the lead researcher on the study. ‘It was thought that a better hunter would have got more meat, and had a healthier and larger family as a consequence of providing more meat for his family.’
In the days before you could order a couple of burgers or a rack of ribs from Tesco online, you didn’t have to sing for your supper, but you did have to chase your lunch. Male marathoners around the country welcomed the conclusions of the ground-breaking study, and added an extra tempo run to their training regimes.