Prior reports on metabolic derangements observed in distance running frequently have small sample sizes, lack prerace laboratory measures, and report sodium as the sole measure.
Metabolic abnormalities—hyponatremia, hypokalemia, renal dysfunction, hemoconcentration—are frequent after completing a full or half marathon. Clinically significant changes occur in these laboratory values after race completion.
Observational, cross-sectional study.
Consenting marathon and half marathon racers completed a survey as well as finger stick blood sampling on race day of the National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer (Jacksonville, Florida, February 2008). Parallel blood measures were obtained before and after race completion (prerace, n = 161; postrace, n = 195).
The prevalence of prerace and postrace hyponatremia was 8 of 161 (5.0%) and 16 of 195 (8.2%), respectively. Hypokalemia was not present prerace but was present in 1 runner postrace (1 of 195). Renal dysfunction occurred prerace in 14 of 161 (8.7%) and postrace in 83 of 195 (42.6%). Among those with postrace renal dysfunction, 45.8% (38 of 83) were classified as moderate or severe. Hemoconcentration was present in 2 of 161 (1.2%) prerace and 6 of 195 (3.1%) postrace. The mean changes in laboratory values were (postrace minus prerace): sodium, 1.6 mmol/L; potassium, −0.2 mmol/L; blood urea nitrogen, 2.8 mg/dL; creatinine, 0.2 mg/dL; and hemoglobin, 0.3 g/dL for 149 pairs (except blood urea nitrogen, n = 147 pairs). Changes were significant for all comparisons (P < 0.01) except potassium (P = 0.08) and hemoglobin (P = 0.01).
Metabolic abnormalities are common among endurance racers, and they may be present prerace, including hyponatremia. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.
It is unclear which runners are at risk for developing clinically important metabolic derangements. Participating in prolonged endurance exercise appears to be safe in the majority of racers.
marathon; hyponatremia; renal dysfunction; running; endurance sports
To evaluate ongoing metabolic changes during a 48-h competitive run and a 48-h recovery period, with focus on potential health risks exemplified by heart and skeletal muscle damage biomarkers and oxidative stress-related indices.
Blood samples were taken before the race, after 12, 24, and 48 h of running, and after 24 and 48 h of recovery from male amateur runners (N = 7, age 35–59 years, VO2max mean ± SD 57.0 ± 4.0 ml kg−1 min−1, total distance covered 183–320 km). The samples were analyzed for morphology, acid–base and electrolyte balance, iron status, lipid profile, interleukin-6, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, N-terminal pro-brain-type natriuretic peptide, high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, non-enzymatic antioxidants, activities of selected enzymes including antioxidant enzymes, and total antioxidant status.
The sustained ultra-endurance run caused hypocapnic alkalosis with slight hyperkalemia and hypocalcemia, but no hyponatremia. Blood biochemistry showed severe muscle but not liver damage, and an acute inflammatory response. These effects were evidenced by leukocytosis, several fold rises in interleukin-6 and high sensitivity C-reactive protein, extreme elevations in serum levels of muscle enzymes, and marked increases in cardiac biomarker levels. Most of the changes dissolved during the 48 h post-race recovery. Neither the iron pool, nor erythropoiesis, nor pro-oxidant/antioxidant balance were substantially affected.
The changes consequent on the ultra-endurance run do not pose a serious health risk in men who begin their endeavor with ultra-endurance running in mid-life. There is some circumstantial evidence that hyperventilatory hypocapnia may modulate inflammatory response by stimulating the release of interleukin-6 from working skeletal muscles.
Ultra-marathon; Muscle damage; Inflammation; Interleukin-6; Cardiac biomarkers; Acid–base balance
Several studies have correlated elevations in cardiac biomarkers of injury post marathon with transient and reversible right ventricular (RV) systolic dysfunction as assessed by both transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Whether or not permanent myocardial injury occurs due to repeated marathon running in the aging population remains controversial.
To assess the extent and severity of cardiac dysfunction after the completion of full marathon running in individuals greater than 50 years of age using cardiac biomarkers, TTE, cardiac computed tomography (CCT), and CMR.
A total of 25 healthy volunteers (21 males, 55 ± 4 years old) from the 2010 and 2011 Manitoba Full Marathons (26.2 miles) were included in the study. Cardiac biomarkers and TTE were performed one week prior to the marathon, immediately after completing the race and at one-week follow-up. CMR was performed at baseline and within 24 hours of completion of the marathon, followed by CCT within 3 months of the marathon.
All participants demonstrated an elevated cTnT post marathon. Right atrial and ventricular volumes increased, while RV systolic function decreased significantly immediately post marathon, returning to baseline values one week later. Of the entire study population, only two individuals demonstrated late gadolinium enhancement of the subendocardium in the anterior wall of the left ventricle, with evidence of stenosis of the left anterior descending artery on CCT.
Marathon running in individuals over the age of 50 is associated with a transient, yet reversible increase in cardiac biomarkers and RV systolic dysfunction. The presence of myocardial fibrosis in older marathon athletes is infrequent, but when present, may be due to underlying occult coronary artery disease.
Marathon running; Cardiac biomarkers; Echocardiography; Cardiac computed tomography; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance
Regular physical activity reduces cardiovascular risk. There is concern that Marathon running might acutely damage the heart. It is unknown to what extent intensive physical endurance activity influences the cardiac mechanics at resting condition.
Eighty-four amateur marathon runners (43 women and 41 men) from Berlin-Brandenburg area who had completed at least one marathon previously underwent clinical examination and echocardiography at least 10 days before the Berlin Marathon at rest. Standard transthoracic echocardiography and 2D strain and strain rate analysis were performed. The 2D Strain and strain rate values were compared to previous published data of healthy untrained individuals.
The average global longitudinal peak systolic strain of the left ventricle was -23 +/- 2% with peak systolic strain rate -1.39 +/- 0.21/s, early diastolic strain rate 2.0 +/- 0.40/s and late diastolic strain rate 1.21 +/- 0.31/s. These values are significantly higher compared to the previous published values of normal age-adjusted individuals. In addition, no age-related decline of longitudinal contractility in well-trained athletes was observed.
There is increased overall longitudinal myocardial contractility at rest in experienced endurance athletes compared to the published normal values in the literature indicating a preserved and even supra-normal contractility in the athletes. There is no age dependent decline of the longitudinal 2D Strain values. This underlines the beneficial effects of regular physical exercise even in advanced age.
The performance and age of peak ultra-endurance performance have been investigated in single races and single race series but not using worldwide participation data. The purpose of this study was to examine the changes in running performance and the age of peak running performance of the best 100-mile ultra-marathoners worldwide.
The race times and ages of the annual ten fastest women and men were analyzed among a total of 35,956 finishes (6,862 for women and 29,094 for men) competing between 1998 and 2011 in 100-mile ultra-marathons.
The annual top ten performances improved by 13.7% from 1,132±61.8 min in 1998 to 977.6±77.1 min in 2011 for women and by 14.5% from 959.2±36.4 min in 1998 to 820.6±25.7 min in 2011 for men. The mean ages of the annual top ten fastest runners were 39.2±6.2 years for women and 37.2±6.1 years for men. The age of peak running performance was not different between women and men (p>0.05) and showed no changes across the years.
These findings indicated that the fastest female and male 100-mile ultra-marathoners improved their race time by ∼14% across the 1998–2011 period at an age when they had to be classified as master athletes. Future studies should analyze longer running distances (>200 km) to investigate whether the age of peak performance increases with increased distance in ultra-marathon running.
Running; Ultra-Endurance; Sex Difference; Athlete
The purpose of the study was (1) to examine the changes in participation and performance of males and females at the Oita International Wheelchair Marathon in Oita, Japan, between 1983 and 2011, and (2) to analyze the gender difference in the age of peak wheelchair marathon performance.
Age and time performance data for all wheelchair athletes completing the Oita International Wheelchair Marathon from 1983 to 2011 were analyzed.
Mean annual number of finishers was 123 ± 43 for males and 6 ± 3 for females (5.0% ± 2.0% of all finishers), respectively. Mean age of overall finishers was significantly (P = 0.026) greater for males (41.3 ± 1.8 years) compared to females (32.7 ± 1.4 years). In contrast, there was no difference in the mean age of the top three overall finishers between males (35.8 ± 3.2 years) and females (31.6 ± 1.5 years). The race time of the top three overall finishers was significantly lower (P < 0.01) for males (1:34 ± 0:11 hours:minutes) compared to females (1:59 ± 0:20 hours:minutes), but it was not significantly different between male (2:06 ± 0:12 hours:minutes) and female (2:12 ± 0:18 hours:minutes) overall finishers. The mean gender difference in time was 26.1% ± 9.7% for the top three overall finishers.
Further studies are required to investigate the reasons for the low participation of females in wheelchair marathons and why the gender difference in marathon performance is much greater for disabled athletes than for able-bodied athletes.
endurance; sex difference; disabled athlete; spinal cord injury
Regular moderate intensity physical activity positively influences the immune system with a lower incidence of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) and lower levels of pro-inflammatory markers. However, marathon running due to its strenuous and prolonged nature results in immune perturbations with a major increase in pro-inflammatory markers and subsequent increased incidence of URTI. Furthermore, marathon running results in muscle damage and changes in hemostasis that promote a pro-thrombotic state.
Naturally occurring hydrolytic enzymes and flavonoids have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and fibrinolytic effects, and may serve as countermeasures to exercise-induced inflammation, immune dysfunction and URTI.
The aim of this study is to determine whether the ingestion of oral hydrolytic enzymes and flavonoids before and after a marathon attenuates post-race muscle damage and inflammation, counters pro-thrombotic changes in hemostasis and decreases URTI incidence.
The Enzy-MagIC-study (
oagulation) is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, monocenter phase I trial. 160 healthy males (age 20-65 years) will be randomized to receive either placebo or treatment (Wobenzym, MUCOS Pharma, Berlin, Germany) which contains the hydrolytic enzymes (bromelain, trypsin) and the flavonoid rutoside. One week before the marathon race, participants will begin daily ingestion of the investigational product (3×4 tablets). Intake will be continued for two weeks after the race (3×2 tablets per day). Clinical and laboratory measures will be collected 5-weeks and 1-week before the race, and immediately-, 24-h, 72-h, and 2 weeks after the race. The primary endpoint is the influence of the treatment on the pre-to-post marathon race plasma concentration change of the inflammatory marker interleukin-6 (IL-6). Secondary endpoints include the effect of treatment on salivary IgA concentration and the frequency of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) for two weeks post-marathon as determined by the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey (WURSS-24). Furthermore, changes of muscular and rheological parameters will be measured before and after the marathon race.
We hypothesize that marathon-induced inflammatory perturbations and the incidence of subsequent URTI, muscular damage, and changes of hemostasis can be positively influenced by the anti-edematous, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and fibrinolytic effects of oral hydrolytic enzymes and flavonoids (Wobenzym).
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01916408
Exercise; Inflammation; Upper respiratory tract illness; Oral hydrolytic enzymes; Flavonoids
Serious thrombembolic events occur in otherwise healthy marathon athletes during competition. We tested the hypothesis that during heavy endurance sports coagulation and platelets are activated depending on the type of endurance sport with respect to its running fraction.
Materials and Methods
68 healthy athletes participating in marathon (MAR, running 42 km, n = 24), triathlon (TRI, swimming 2.5 km + cycling 90 km + running 21 km, n = 22), and long distance cycling (CYC, 151 km, n = 22) were included in the study. Blood samples were taken before and immediately after completion of competition to perform rotational thrombelastometry. We assessed coagulation time (CT), maximum clot firmness (MCF) after intrinsically activation and fibrin polymerization (FIBTEM). Furthermore, platelet aggregation was tested after activation with ADP and thrombin activating peptide 6 (TRAP) by using multiple platelet function analyzer.
Complete data sets were obtained in 58 athletes (MAR: n = 20, TRI: n = 19, CYC: n = 19). CT significantly decreased in all groups (MAR -9.9%, TRI -8.3%, CYC -7.4%) without differences between groups. In parallel, MCF (MAR +7.4%, TRI +6.1%, CYC +8.3%) and fibrin polymerization (MAR +14.7%, TRI +6.1%, CYC +8.3%) were significantly increased in all groups. However, platelets were only activated during MAR and TRI as indicated by increased AUC during TRAP-activation (MAR +15.8%) and increased AUC during ADP-activation in MAR (+50.3%) and TRI (+57.5%).
While coagulation is activated during physical activity irrespective of type we observed significant platelet activation only during marathon and to a lesser extent during triathlon. We speculate that prolonged running may increase platelet activity, possibly, due to mechanical alteration. Thus, particularly prolonged running may increase the risk of thrombembolic incidents in running athletes.
The prevalence of allergy in athletes is increasing, and its risk varies across sports. The risk is dependent mainly on the ventilation rate and environmental factors; however, the prevalence of allergy in elite runners remains unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to screen allergy symptoms in elite marathon runners by using a validated questionnaire for screening allergy in athletes.
Two hundred and one elite marathoners, who participated in the most competitive Brazilian marathons and half-marathons during 2011, were invited to complete a validated self-report Allergy Questionnaire for Athletes (AQUA©), with additional questions pertaining to training history, such as running experience, running distance per week and their best race time in marathon or half-marathon events.
Sixty percent of the assessed athletes reported allergy symptoms as defined by a positive AQUA outcome (score [greater than or equal to] 5). No significant differences (p > 0.05) between groups (AQUA + and AQUA-) were observed for gender, age, running experience, weekly training volume and best performance time in the half-marathon and marathon. The most frequently reported symptoms were related to the respiratory tract and physical effort.
This study demonstrates that AQUA© can be used to predict allergy in elite marathon runners. In addition, these athletes have a higher prevalence of allergy symptoms to elite athletes from other sports.
The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of endurance training on heart rate (HR) recovery after exercise and cardiac autonomic nervous system (ANS) modulation in female marathon runners by comparing with untrained controls. Six female marathon runners (M group) aged 32-40 years and eight age-matched untrained females (C group) performed a maximum-effort treadmill running exercise. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) was measured during the exercise with a gas analyzer connected to subjects through a face mask. Heart rate, blood pressure and blood lactate were measured before and after the exercise. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) to the exercise was obtained immediately after the exercise. Holter ECG was recorded and analyzed with power spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) to investigate the cardiac ANS modulation. The M group had significantly higher VO2max, faster HR recovery after exercise, higher Mean RR, SDRR, HF power and lower LF/HF ratio at rest compared with the C group. The M group also presented greater percent decrease of blood pressure after exercise, although their blood pressure after exercise was higher than the C group. It is suggested that endurance training induced significant alterations in cardiac ANS modulation at rest and significant acceleration of HR recovery after exercise in female marathon runners. Faster HR recovery after exercise in the female marathon runners should result from their higher levels of HRV, higher aerobic capacity and exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise compared with untrained controls.
Key PointsThe effects of endurance training on HR recovery after exercise and cardiac ANS modulation were investigated in female marathon runners by comparing with untrained controls.Time and frequency domain analysis of HRV was used to investigate cardiac ANS modulation.As compared with untrained controls, the female marathon runners showed faster HR recovery after exercise, which should result from their higher levels of HRV, higher aerobic capacity and exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise.
Heart rate recovery; heart rate variability; female marathon runner
The study was conducted to evaluate the metabolic responses to a 24 h ultra-endurance race in male runners. Paired venous and capillary blood samples from 14 athletes (mean age 43.0 ± 10.8 years, body weight 64.3 ± 7.2 kg, VO2max 57.8 ± 6.1 ml kg−1 min−1), taken 3 h before the run, after completing the marathon distance (42.195 km), after 12 h, and at the finish of the race, were analyzed for blood morphology, acid–base balance and electrolytes, lipid profile, interleukin-6 (IL-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and serum enzyme activities. Mean distance covered during the race was 168.5 ± 23.1 km (range 125.2–218.5 km). Prolonged ultra-endurance exercise triggered immune and inflammatory responses, as evidenced by a twofold increase in total leukocyte count with neutrophils and monocytes as main contributors, nearly 30-fold increase in serum IL-6 and over 20-fold rise in hsCRP. A progressive exponential increase in mean creatine kinase activity up to the level 70-fold higher than the respective pre-race value, a several fold rise in serum activities of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, and a fairly stable serum γ-glutamyl transferase level, were indicative of muscle, but not of liver damage. With duration of exercise, there was a progressive development of hyperventilation-induced hypocapnic alkalosis, and a marked alteration in substrate utilization towards fat oxidation to maintain blood glucose homeostasis. The results of this study may imply that progressive decline in partial CO2 pressure (hypocapnia) that develops during prolonged exercise may contribute to increased interleukin-6 production.
Ultra-endurance exercise; Muscle damage; Inflammatory response; Interleukin-6
Changes in plasma thioredoxin (TRX) concentrations before, during, and after a 130-km endurance race were measured with the aim of elucidating the relationship between exercise and oxidative stress (OS).
Blood samples were taken from 18 runners participating in a 2-day-long 130-km ultra-marathon during the 2 days of the race and for 1 week thereafter. There were six sampling time points: at baseline, after the goal had been reached on the first and second day of the endurance race, respectively, and on 1, 3, and 5/6 days post-endurance race. The samples were analyzed for plasma TRX concentrations, platelet count, and blood lipid profiles.
Concentrations of plasma TRX increased from 17.9 ± 1.2 ng/mL (mean ± standard error of the mean) at baseline to 57.3 ± 5.0 ng/mL after the first day’s goal had been reached and to 70.1 ± 6.9 ng/mL after the second day's goal had been reached; it then returned to the baseline level 1 day after the race. Platelet counts of 21.3 ± 1.2 × 104 cell/μL at baseline increased to 23.9 ± 1.5 × 104 cells/μL on Day 1 and to 26.1 ± 1.0 × 104 cells/μL on Day 2. On Day 7, the platelet counts had fallen to 22.1 ± 1.2 × 104 cell/μL. There was a significant positive correlation between plasma TRX and platelet count.
These data suggest that plasma TRX is an OS marker during physical exercise. Further studies are needed to determine the appropriate level of exercise for the promotion of health.
Lipid profile; Marathon runner; Oxidative stress; Platelet counts; Thioredoxin
During the 4,487 km ultra marathon TransEurope-FootRace 2009 (TEFR09), runners showed catabolism with considerable reduction of body weight as well as reversible brain volume reduction. We hypothesized that ultra marathon athletes might have developed changes to grey matter (GM) brain morphology due to the burden of extreme physical training. Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) we undertook a cross sectional study and two longitudinal studies.
Prior to the start of the race 13 runners volunteered to participate in this study of planned brain scans before, twice during, and 8 months after the race. A group of matched controls was recruited for comparison. Twelve runners were able to participate in the scan before the start of the race and were taken into account for comparison with control persons. Because of drop-outs during the race, VBM could be performed in 10 runners covering the first 3 time points, and in 7 runners who also had the follow-up scan after 8 months. Volumetric 3D datasets were acquired using an MPRAGE sequence. A level of p < 0.05, family-wise corrected for multiple comparisons was the a priori set statistical threshold to infer significant effects from VBM.
Baseline comparison of TEFR09 participants and controls revealed no significant differences regarding GM brain volume. During the race however, VBM revealed GM volume decreases in regionally distributed brain regions. These included the bilateral posterior temporal and occipitoparietal cortices as well as the anterior cingulate and caudate nucleus. After eight months, GM normalized.
Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not observe significant differences between TEFR09 athletes and controls at baseline. If this missing difference is not due to small sample size, extreme physical training obviously does not chronically alter GM.
However, during the race GM volume decreased in brain regions normally associated with visuospatial and language tasks. The reduction of the energy intensive default mode network as a means to conserve energy during catabolism is discussed. The changes were reversible after 8 months.
Despite substantial changes to brain composition during the catabolic stress of an ultra marathon, the observed differences seem to be reversible and adaptive.
Voxel based morphometry; VBM; Catabolism; Plasticity; Brain; Default mode network; MRI; Ultra marathon
The behaviors and beliefs of recreational runners with regard to hydration maintenance are not well elucidated.
To examine which beverages runners choose to drink and why, negative performance and health experiences related to dehydration, and methods used to assess hydration status.
Marathon registration site.
Patients or Other Participants:
Men (n = 146) and women (n = 130) (age = 38.3 ± 11.3 years) registered for the 2010 Little Rock Half-Marathon or Full Marathon.
A 23-item questionnaire was administered to runners when they picked up their race timing chips.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Runners were separated into tertiles (Low, Mod, High) based on z scores derived from training volume, expected performance, and running experience. We used a 100-mm visual analog scale with anchors of 0 (never) and 100 (always). Total sample responses and comparisons between tertile groups for questionnaire items are presented.
The High group (58±31) reported greater consumption of sport beverages in exercise environments than the Low (42 ± 35 mm) and Mod (39 ± 32 mm) groups (P < .05) and perceived sport beverages to be superior to water in meeting hydration needs (P < .05) and improving performance during runs greater than 1 hour (P < .05). Seventy percent of runners experienced 1 or more incidents in which they believed dehydration resulted in a major performance decrement, and 45% perceived dehydration to have resulted in adverse health effects. Twenty percent of runners reported monitoring their hydration status. Urine color was the method most often reported (7%), whereas only 2% reported measuring changes in body weight.
Greater attention should be paid to informing runners of valid techniques to monitor hydration status and developing an appropriate individualized hydration strategy.
dehydration; sport beverages; hydration monitoring
Arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk and may contribute to reduced running capacity in humans. This study investigated the relationship between course record and arterial stiffness in marathoners who participated in the Seoul International Marathon in 2012.
A total of 30 amateur marathoners (Males n = 28, Females n = 2, mean age = 51.6 ± 8.3 years) were assessed before and after the marathon race. Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (ba-PWV) was assessed by VP-1000 plus (Omron Healthcare Co., Ltd., Kyoto, Japan) before and immediately after the marathon race. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to determine the relationship between race record and ba-PWV. In addition, Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to determine the difference in ba-PWV between before and after the race.
There was no significant change in the ba-PWV of marathoners before and after the race (1271.1 ± 185 vs. 1268.8 ± 200 cm/s, P=0.579). Both the full course record (Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.416, P = 0.022) and the record of half line (Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.482, P = 0.007) were positively related with the difference in ba-PWV, suggesting that reduced arterial stiffness is associated with a better running record in the marathon.
These results may suggest that good vascular function contributes to a better running record in the marathon race.
brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (ba-PWV); exercise; full course marathon; arterial compliance
The objectives of this study were to describe the distribution of all runners' performances in the largest marathons worldwide and to determine which environmental parameters have the maximal impact.
We analysed the results of six European (Paris, London, Berlin) and American (Boston, Chicago, New York) marathon races from 2001 to 2010 through 1,791,972 participants' performances (all finishers per year and race). Four environmental factors were gathered for each of the 60 races: temperature (°C), humidity (%), dew point (°C), and the atmospheric pressure at sea level (hPA); as well as the concentrations of four atmospheric pollutants: NO2 – SO2 – O3 and PM10 (μg.m−3).
All performances per year and race are normally distributed with distribution parameters (mean and standard deviation) that differ according to environmental factors. Air temperature and performance are significantly correlated through a quadratic model. The optimal temperatures for maximal mean speed of all runners vary depending on the performance level. When temperature increases above these optima, running speed decreases and withdrawal rates increase. Ozone also impacts performance but its effect might be linked to temperature. The other environmental parameters do not have any significant impact.
The large amount of data analyzed and the model developed in this study highlight the major influence of air temperature above all other climatic parameter on human running capacity and adaptation to race conditions.
Endurance performance decreases during ageing due to alterations in physiological characteristics, energy stores, and psychological factors. To investigate alterations in physiological characteristics and body composition of elderly master athletes in response to an extreme endurance event, we present the case of the first ninety-year-old official male marathon finisher.
Before and directly after the marathon, a treadmill incremental test, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, peripheral quantitative computed tomography, mechanography, and dynamometry measurements were conducted. The athlete finished the marathon in 6 h 48 min 55 s, which corresponds to an average competition speed of 6.19 km h-1.
Discussion and Evaluation
Before the marathon,
was 31.5 ml min-1 kg-1 body mass and peak heart rate was 140 beats min-1. Total fat mass increased in the final preparation phase (+3.4%), while leg fat mass and leg lean mass were slightly reduced after the marathon (-3.7 and -1.6%, respectively). Countermovement jump (CMJ) peak power and peak velocity decreased after the marathon (-16.5 and -14.7%, respectively). Total impulse during CMJ and energy cost of running were not altered by the marathon. In the left leg, maximal voluntary ground reaction force (Fm1LH) and maximal isometric voluntary torque (MIVT) were impaired after the marathon (-12.2 and -14.5%, respectively).
Side differences in Fm1LH and MIVT could be attributed to the distinct non-symmetrical running pattern of the athlete. Similarities in alterations in leg composition and CMJ performance existed between the nonagenarian athlete and young marathon runners. In contrast, alterations in total body composition and m1LH performance were markedly different in the nonagenarian athlete when compared to his younger counterparts.
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; Peripheral quantitative computed tomography; Countermovement jump; Multiple one-legged hopping; Impulse
The aim of the study was to examine finisher and performance trends of ultrarunners in the Marathon des Sables, the world’s largest multistage ultramarathon.
The age and running speed was analyzed for 6945 finishes of 909 women and 6036 men between 2003 and 2012 at the Marathon des Sables covering about 240 km in the Moroccan desert.
The number of finishes increased significantly for both women and men from 2003–2012. The annual number of finishes increased in age groups: 30–34 years (r2 = 0.50; P = 0.021), 45–49 years (r2 = 0.81; P = 0.0004), and 50–54 years (r2 = 0.46; P = 0.029) for women and in all age groups older than 35 years for men (35–39 years: r2 = 0.64, P = 0.0054; 40–44 years: r2 = 0.67, P = 0.0036; 45–49 years: r2 = 0.77, P = 0.0007; 50–54 years: r2 = 0.72, P = 0.0018; 55–59 years: r2 = 0.42, P = 0.041; and 60–64 years: r2 = 0.67, P = 0.0038). The fastest running speed was achieved by runners in the age group of 35–39 years for both sexes. The mean age of overall finishers was 41.0 ± 9.1 years for women and 41.3 ± 9.5 years for men. For men, running speed improved for athletes in the age group of 35–39 years (r2 = 0.44; P = 0.036) and of 40–44 years (r2 = 0.51; P = 0.019), while it decreased for athletes in the age group of 30–34 years (r2 = 0.66, P = 0.0039). For women, running speed remained stable during the study period for athletes in all age groups.
These data suggest that the number of finishers of masters runners older than 40 years increased for both sexes at the Marathon des Sables, as has been previously observed for single-stage ultramarathons. In contrast to women, men aged 35 to 44 years improved running speed during the study period. Future studies are needed to investigate the reasons for the growing numbers of masters athletes in endurance sports and their improvement in performance.
age group; athlete; ultraendurance; running speed
Massage therapy is commonly used following endurance running races with the expectation that it will enhance post-run recovery of muscle function and reduce soreness. A limited number of studies have reported little or no influence of massage therapy on post-exercise muscle recovery. However, no studies have been conducted in a field setting to assess the potential for massage to influence muscle recovery following an actual endurance running race. To evaluate the potential for repeated massage therapy interventions to influence recovery of quadriceps and hamstring muscle soreness, recovery of quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength and reduction of upper leg muscle swelling over a two week recovery period following an actual road running race. Twelve adult recreational runners (8 male, 4 female) completed a half marathon (21.1 km) road race. On days 1,4, 8, and 11 post-race, subjects received 30 minutes of standardized massage therapy performed by a registered massage therapist on a randomly assigned massage treatment leg, while the other (control) leg received no massage treatment. Two days prior to the race (baseline) and preceding the treatments on post-race days 1, 4, 8, and 11 the following measures were conducted on each of the massage and control legs: strength of quadriceps and hamstring muscles, leg swelling, and soreness perception. At day 1, post-race quadriceps peak torque was significantly reduced (p < 0.05), and soreness and leg circumference significantly elevated (p < 0.05) relative to pre-race values with no difference between legs. This suggested that exercise-induced muscle disruption did occur. Comparing the rate of return to baseline measures between the massaged and control legs, revealed no significant differences (p > 0.05). All measures had returned to baseline at day 11. Massage did not affect the recovery of muscles in terms of physiological measures of strength, swelling, or soreness. However, questionnaires revealed that 7 of the 12 participants perceived that the massaged leg felt better upon recovery.
Key PointsMassage does not appear to affect physiological indices of muscle recovery post exercise.Massage does appear to positively influence perceptions of recovery.More research needs to be completed on the purported benefits of massage.
Recovery; running; perception; massage
Systematically planning appropriate medical coverage for mass-participation running events is a challenge that has received relatively little attention in the medical literature, despite its potentially severe consequences. In particular, the literature lacks quantitative information on running events that medical planners can utilize for decisions on medical resource allocation and deployment.
Using a case-study approach, this study provides a detailed quantitative medical services utilization profile for the Singapore Army Half-Marathon, constructed from participant and casualty data spanning three years and comprising over 80,000 data points. Casualty rates for participants of varying age and sex in different running events were also estimated using a multivariate logistic regression model. Qualitatively, planning processes and practices were described and discussed.
The quantitative profile yielded three main findings. Firstly, the analysis reveals that the gross Medical Usage Rate had remained fairly stable at between 16.9 and 26.0 casualties per 10,000 participants over the three years. Secondly, comparing injury types, musculoskeletal and soft-tissue injuries were the most commonly-presented injuries. Thirdly, more casualties presented at the race end-point as compared to the along the race routes. The regression analysis showed that, of the four modeled variables, the longer event distance (21 km vs. 10 km) had the largest effect on the likelihood that a participant would become a casualty. Conversely, being of an older age, being male, and running in a non-competitive event were each associated with lower casualty risk.
The stable and intuitive casualty patterns detailed in this study provide a strong basis for further quantitative research on the medical aspects of running events, as well as for mass-participation sporting events in general. The qualitative aspects of this report may serve as a useful resource to medical planners for running events.
The local muscular endurance of knee flexors, during eccentric work in particular, is important in preventing or delaying kinematic changes associated with fatigue during treadmill running. This result, however, may not be transferable to overground running.
To test the hypothesis that overground running is associated with eccentric hamstring fatigue.
Thirteen runners (12 male and one female) performed an isokinetic muscle test three to four days before and 18 hours after a marathon. Both legs were tested. The testing protocol consisted of concentric and eccentric quadriceps and hamstring contractions.
There were no significant differences between peak torque before and after the race, except that eccentric peak hamstring torque (both thighs) was reduced.
Overground running (running a marathon) is associated with eccentric hamstring fatigue. Eccentric hamstring fatigue may be a potential risk factor for knee and soft tissue injuries during running. Eccentric hamstring training should therefore be introduced as an integral part of the training programme of runners.
fatigue; concentric; eccentric; hamstring; musculoskeletal injury
The purpose of this study was to investigate participation and performance changes in the multistage ultramarathon ‘Marathon des Sables’ from 2003 to 2012.
Participation and performance trends in the four- or six-stage running event covering approximately 250 km were analyzed with special emphasis on the nationality and age of the athletes. The relations between gender, age, and nationality of finishers and performance were investigated using regression analyses and analysis of variance.
Between 2003 and 2012, a number of 7,275 athletes with 938 women (12.9%) and 6,337 men (87.1%) finished the Marathon des Sables. The finisher rate in both women (r2 = 0.62) and men (r2 = 0.60) increased across years (p < 0.01). Men were significantly (p < 0.01) faster than women for overall finishers (5.9 ± 1.6 km·h−1 versus 5.1 ± 1.3 km·h−1) and for the top three finishers (12.2 ± 0.4 km·h−1 versus 8.3 ± 0.6 km·h−1). The gender difference in running speed of the top three athletes decreased (r2 = 0.72; p < 0.01) from 39.5% in 2003 to 24.1% in 2012 with a mean gender difference of 31.7 ± 2.0%. In men, Moroccans won nine of ten competitions, and one edition was won by a Jordanian athlete. In women, eight races were won by Europeans (France five, Luxembourg two, and Spain one, respectively), and two events were won by Moroccan runners.
The finisher rate in the Marathon des Sables increased this last decade. Men were significantly faster than women with a higher gender difference in performance compared to previous reports. Social or cultural inhibitions may determine the outcome in this event. Future studies need to investigate participation trends regarding nationalities and socioeconomic background, as well as the motivation to compete in ultramarathons.
Ultramarathon; Performance trends; Nationality; Gender difference
Data on physiological effects and potential risks of a ultraendurance swimming are scarce. This report presents the unique case of a 61-year old athlete who completed a non-stop open-water 120-km ultramarathon swim on the Warta River, Poland. Pre-swimming examinations revealed favorable conditions (blood pressure, 110/70 mmHg; rest heart rate, 54 beats/minute, ejection fraction, 60%, 20.2 metabolic equivalents in a maximal exercise test). The swimming time and distance covered were 27 h 33 min and 120 km, respectively. Blood samples for hematological and biochemical parameters were collected 30 min, 4 hrs, 10 hrs and 8 days after the swim. The body temperature of the swimmer was 36.7°C before and 35.1°C after the swim. The hematological parameters remained within the reference range in the postexercise period except for leucocytes (17.5 and 10.6 x G/l noted 30 minutes and 4 hours after the swim, respectively). Serum urea, aspartate aminotransferase and C-reactive protein increased above the reference range reaching 11.3 mmol/l, 1054 nmol/l/s and 25.9 mg/l, respectively. Symptomatic hyponatremia was not observed. Although the results demonstrate that an experienced athlete is able to complete an ultra-marathon swim without negative health consequences, further studies addressing the potential risks of marathon swimming are required.
Key pointsData on biochemical changes due to long-distance swimming are scarce.This report presents the unique case of a 61-year old athlete who completed a non-stop open-water 120-km ultramarathon swim.An experienced athlete is able to complete an ultra-marathon swim without serious health consequences.Regarding the growing popularity of marathon swimming further studies addressing the potential risks of such exhaustive exercise are required.
Marathon swim; ultraendurance exercise; biochemical; men
Anecdotal evidence suggests ultra-runners may not be consuming sufficient water through foods and fluids to maintenance euhydration, and present sub-optimal sodium intakes, throughout multi-stage ultra-marathon (MSUM) competitions in the heat. Subsequently, the aims were primarily to assess water and sodium intake habits of recreational ultra-runners during a five stage 225 km semi self-sufficient MSUM conducted in a hot ambient environment (Tmax range: 32°C to 40°C); simultaneously to monitor serum sodium concentration, and hydration status using multiple hydration assessment techniques.
Total daily, pre-stage, during running, and post-stage water and sodium ingestion of ultra-endurance runners (UER, n = 74) and control (CON, n = 12) through foods and fluids were recorded on Stages 1 to 4 by trained dietetic researchers using dietary recall interview technique, and analysed through dietary analysis software. Body mass (BM), hydration status, and serum sodium concentration were determined pre- and post-Stages 1 to 5.
Water (overall mean (SD): total daily 7.7 (1.5) L/day, during running 732 (183) ml/h) and sodium (total daily 3.9 (1.3) g/day, during running 270 (151) mg/L) ingestion did not differ between stages in UER (p < 0.001 vs. CON). Exercise-induced BM loss was 2.4 (1.2)% (p < 0.001). Pre- to post-stage BM gains were observed in 26% of UER along competition. Pre- and post-stage plasma osmolality remained within normal clinical reference range (280 to 303 mOsmol/kg) in the majority of UER (p > 0.05 vs. CON pre-stage). Asymptomatic hyponatraemia (<135 mmol/L) was evident pre- and post-stage in n = 8 UER, corresponding to 42% of sampled participants. Pre- and post-stage urine colour, urine osmolality and urine/plasma osmolality ratio increased (p < 0.001) as competition progressed in UER, with no change in CON. Plasma volume and extra-cellular water increased (p < 0.001) 22.8% and 9.2%, respectively, from pre-Stage 1 to 5 in UER, with no change in CON.
Water intake habits of ultra-runners during MSUM conducted in hot ambient conditions appear to be sufficient to maintain baseline euhydration levels. However, fluid over-consumption behaviours were evident along competition, irrespective of running speed and gender. Normonatraemia was observed in the majority of ultra-runners throughout MSUM, despite sodium ingestion under benchmark recommendations.
Water; Drinking; Beverages; Total body water; Dehydration; Euhydration; Hyponatraemia; Carbohydrate
There are no available data addressing the potential clinical risks of open-water swimming competitions.
Address the risks of hypothermia and hypoglycemia during a 10-km open-water swimming competition in order to alert physicians to the potential dangers of this recently-introduced Olympic event.
This was an observational cross-sectional study, conducted during a 10-km open-water event (water temperature 21°C). The highest ranked elite open-water swimmers in Brazil (7 men, 5 women; ages 21±7 years old) were submitted to anthropometrical measurements on the day before competition. All but one athlete took maltodextrine ad libitum during the competition. Core temperature and capillary glycemia data were obtained before and immediately after the race.
Most athletes (83%) finished the race with mild to moderate hypothermia (core temperature <35°C). The body temperature drop was more pronounced in female athletes (4.2±0.7°C vs. male: 2.7±0.8°C; p=0.040). When data from the athlete who did not take maltodextrine was excluded, capillary glycemia increased among athletes (pre 86.6±8.9 mg/dL; post 105.5±26.9 mg/dL; p=0.014). Time to complete the race was inversely related to pre- competition body temperature in men (r=−0.802; p=0.030), while it was inversely correlated with the change in capillary glycemia in women (r=−0.898; p=0.038).
Hypothermia may occur during open-water swimming events even in elite athletes competing in relatively warm water. Thus, core temperature must be a chief concern of any physician during an open-water swim event. Capillary glycemia may have positive effects on performance. Further studies that include more athletes in a controlled setting are warranted.
Swimming; Athletic performance; Sports; Body temperature changes; Emergency medicine