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1.  Participation and performance trends in ultra-endurance running races under extreme conditions - ‘Spartathlon’ versus ‘Badwater’ 
Background
The aim of the present study was to compare the trends in participation, performance and age of finishers in ‘Badwater’ and ‘Spartathlon’ as two of the toughest ultramarathons in the world of more than 200 km of distance.
Methods
Running speed and age of male and female finishers in Badwater and Spartathlon were analyzed from 2000 to 2012. Age of peak performance and sex difference in running speed were investigated during the studied period.
Results
The number of female and male finishes increased in Badwater and Spartathlon. Women accounted on average for 21.5% ± 6.9% in Badwater and 10.8% ± 2.3% in Spartathlon. There was a significant increase in female participation in Badwater from 18.4% to 19.1% (p < 0.01) and in Spartathlon from 11.9% to 12.5% (p = 0.02). In men, the age of finishers was higher in Badwater (46.5 ± 9.3 years) compared to Spartathlon (44.8 ± 8.2 years) (p < 0.01). The age of female finishers of both races was similar with 43.0 ± 7.5 years in Badwater and 44.5 ± 7.8 years in Spartathlon (p > 0.05). Over the years, the age of the annual five fastest men decreased in Badwater from 42.4 ± 4.2 to 39.8 ± 5.7 years (p < 0.05). For women, the age remained unchanged at 42.3 ± 3.8 years in Badwater (p > 0.05). In Spartathlon, the age was unchanged at 39.7 ± 2.4 years for men and 44.6 ± 3.2 years for women (p > 0.05). In Badwater, women and men became faster over the years. The running speed increased from 7.9 ± 0.7 to 8.7 ± 0.6 km/h (p < 0.01) in men and from 5.4 ± 1.1 to 6.6 ± 0.5 km/h (p < 0.01) in women. The sex difference in running speed remained unchanged at 19.8% ± 4.8% (p > 0.05). In Spartathlon, the running speed was stable over time at 10.8 ± 0.7 km/h for men and 8.7 ± 0.5 km/h for women (p > 0.05). The sex difference remained unchanged at 19.6% ± 2.5% (p > 0.05).
Conclusions
These results suggest that for both Badwater and Spartathlon, (a) female participation increased, (b) the fastest finishers were approximately 40 to 45 years, and (c) the sex difference was at approximately 20%. Women will not outrun men in both Badwater and Spartathlon races. Master ultramarathoners can achieve a high level of performance in ultramarathons greater than 200 km under extreme conditions.
doi:10.1186/2046-7648-2-15
PMCID: PMC3710197  PMID: 23848985
Running; Ultra-endurance; Extreme conditions; Age; Sex differences
2.  Sex difference in Double Iron ultra-triathlon performance 
Background
The present study examined the sex difference in swimming (7.8 km), cycling (360 km), running (84 km), and overall race times for Double Iron ultra-triathletes.
Methods
Sex differences in split times and overall race times of 1,591 men and 155 women finishing a Double Iron ultra-triathlon between 1985 and 2012 were analyzed.
Results
The annual number of finishes increased linearly for women and exponentially for men. Men achieved race times of 1,716 ± 243 min compared to 1,834 ± 261 min for women and were 118 ± 18 min (6.9%) faster (p < 0.01). Men finished swimming within 156 ± 63 min compared to women with 163 ± 31 min and were 8 ± 32 min (5.1 ± 5.0%) faster (p < 0.01). For cycling, men (852 ± 196 min) were 71 ± 70 min (8.3 ± 3.5%) faster than women (923 ± 126 min) (p < 0.01). Men completed the run split within 710 ± 145 min compared to 739 ± 150 min for women and were 30 ± 5 min (4.2 ± 3.4%) faster (p = 0.03). The annual three fastest men improved race time from 1,650 ± 114 min in 1985 to 1,339 ± 33 min in 2012 (p < 0.01). Overall race time for women remained unchanged at 1,593 ± 173 min with an unchanged sex difference of 27.1 ± 8.6%. In swimming, the split times for the annual three fastest women (148 ± 14 min) and men (127 ± 20 min) remained unchanged with an unchanged sex difference of 26.8 ± 13.5%. In cycling, the annual three fastest men improved the split time from 826 ± 60 min to 666 ± 18 min (p = 0.02). For women, the split time in cycling remained unchanged at 844 ± 54 min with an unchanged sex difference of 25.2 ± 7.3%. In running, the annual fastest three men improved split times from 649 ± 77 min to 532 ± 16 min (p < 0.01). For women, however, the split times remained unchanged at 657 ± 70 min with a stable sex difference of 32.4 ± 12.5%.
Conclusions
To summarize, the present findings showed that men were faster than women in Double Iron ultra-triathlon, men improved overall race times, cycling and running split times, and the sex difference remained unchanged across years for overall race time and split times. The sex differences for overall race times and split times were higher than reported for Ironman triathlon.
doi:10.1186/2046-7648-2-12
PMCID: PMC3710139  PMID: 23849631
Triathlon; Ultra-endurance; Swimming; Cycling; Running
3.  Changes in Skinfold Thicknesses and Body Fat in Ultra-endurance Cyclists 
Purpose
The present study investigated the changes in single skinfold thicknesses and body fat during an ultra-endurance cycling race.
Methods
One hundred and nineteen ultra-endurance cyclists in the ‘Swiss Cycling Marathon’ covering a distance of 600 km were included. Changes in skinfold thickness, fat mass, skeletal muscle mass and total body water were estimated using anthropometric methods.
Results
The subjects were riding at a mean speed of 23.5±4.0 km/h and finished the race within 1,580±296 min. During the race, body mass decreased by 1.5±1.2 kg (P<0.001), and fat mass decreased by 1.5±1.1 kg (P<0.001). Skeletal muscle mass and total body water remained unchanged (P>0.05). The decrease in body mass correlated to the decrease in fat mass (r = 0.20, P=0.03). The skinfold thicknesses at pectoral (-14.7%), abdominal (-14.9%), and thigh (-10.2%) site showed the largest decrease. The decrease in abdominal skinfold was significantly and negatively related to cycling speed during the race (r = -0.31, P<0.001).
Conclusion
Cycling 600 km at ∼23 km/h led to a decrease in fat mass and in all skinfold thicknesses. The largest decrease in skinfold thickness was recorded for pectoral, abdominal, and thigh site. The decrease in abdominal skinfold thickness was negatively related to cycling speed. The body seems to reduce adipose subcutaneous fat during an ultra-endurance performance at the site of the thickest skinfold.
PMCID: PMC3685155  PMID: 23785571
Endurance; Fat Mass; Muscle Mass; Anthropometry; Body Fat; Training
4.  Participation and performance trends in ultracycling 
Background
Participation and performance trends have been investigated in ultramarathons and ultratriathlons but not in ultracycling. The aim of the present study was to investigate (1) participation and performance trends in ultraendurance cyclists, (2) changes in cycling speed over the years, and (3) the age of the fastest male and female ultraendurance cyclists.
Methods
Participation and performance trends in the 5000 km Race Across America (RAAM) and in two RAAM-qualifier races – the 818 km Furnace Creek 508 in the United States and the 715 km Swiss Cycling Marathon in Europe – were investigated using linear regression analyses and analyses of variance.
Results
On average, ~41% of participants did not finish either the RAAM or the Furnace Creek 508, whereas ~26% did not finish the Swiss Cycling Marathon. Female finishers accounted for ~11% in both the RAAM and the Furnace Creek 508 but only ~3% in the Swiss Cycling Marathon. The mean cycling speed of all finishers remained unchanged during the studied periods. The winner’s average speed was faster for men than for women in the RAAM (22.6 ± 1.1 km · h−1 versus 18.4 ± 1.7 km · h−1, respectively; average speed difference between male and female winners, 25.0% ± 11.9%), the Swiss Cycling Marathon (30.8 ± 0.8 km · h−1 versus 24.4 ± 1.9 km · h−1, respectively; average speed difference between male and female winners, 27.8% ± 9.4%), and the Furnace Creek 508 (27.4 ± 1.6 km · h−1 versus 23.4 ± 3.0 km · h−1, respectively; average speed difference between male and female winners, 18.4% ± 13.9%). In both the Furnace Creek 508 and the Swiss Cycling Marathon, ~46% of the finishers were aged between 35 and 49 years. The mean age of winners, both male and female, across the years in the Furnace Creek 508 and in the Swiss Cycling Marathon was 37 ± 10 years.
Conclusion
These findings in ultracycling races showed that (1) ~26%–40% of starters were unable to finish, (2) the percentage of female finishers was ~3%–11%, (3) the gender difference in performance was ~18%–28%, and (4) ~46% of the successful finishers were master athletes. Future studies need to investigate the reasons for the low female participation and focus on the age-related performance decline in other ultraendurance events in order to confirm that master athletes are predisposed to ultraendurance performances.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S40142
PMCID: PMC3871902  PMID: 24379708
ultraendurance; finisher; speed; gender difference; master athlete; cycling
5.  Does Muscle Mass Affect Running Times in Male Long-distance Master Runners? 
Asian Journal of Sports Medicine  2012;3(4):247-256.
Purpose
The aim of the present study was to investigate associations between skeletal muscle mass, body fat and training characteristics with running times in master athletes (age > 35 years) in half-marathon, marathon and ultra-marathon.
Methods
We compared skeletal muscle mass, body fat and training characteristics in master half-marathoners (n=103), master marathoners (n=91) and master ultra-marathoners (n=155) and investigated associations between body composition and training characteristics with race times using bi- and multi-variate analyses.
Results
After multi-variate analysis, body fat was related to half-marathon (β=0.9, P=0.0003), marathon (β=2.2, P<0.0001), and ultra-marathon (β=10.5, P<0.0001) race times. In master half-marathoners (β=-4.3, P<0.0001) and master marathoners (β=-11.9, P<0.0001), speed during training was related to race times. In master ultra-marathoners, however, weekly running kilometers (β=-1.6, P<0.0001) were related to running times.
Conclusions
To summarize, body fat and training characteristics, not skeletal muscle mass, were associated with running times in master half-marathoners, master marathoners, and master ultra-marathoners. Master half-marathoners and master marathoners rather rely on a high running speed during training whereas master ultra-marathoners rely on a high running volume during training. The common opinion that skeletal muscle mass affects running performance in master runners needs to be questioned.
PMCID: PMC3525821  PMID: 23342223
Body Fat; Skinfold Thickness; Anthropometry; Running; Sports
6.  Age of peak performance in elite male and female Ironman triathletes competing in Ironman Switzerland, a qualifier for the Ironman world championship, Ironman Hawaii, from 1995 to 2011 
Background
The age of peak performance in elite endurance athletes has been investigated for elite marathoners, but not for elite Ironman triathletes. The aim of this study was to analyze the age of peak performance in swimming (3.8 km), cycling (180 km), running (42 km), and overall race time for elite female and male Ironman triathletes competing in Ironman Switzerland, a qualifier for the Ironman world championship, known as the Ironman Hawaii.
Methods
The age of the annual top ten overall swimmers, cyclists, runners, and annual overall finishers for both male and female elite triathletes and their corresponding split and overall race times at the Ironman Switzerland were analyzed between 1995 and 2011.
Results
The mean age of the elite Ironman triathletes was 33 ± 3 years for men and 34 ± 4 years for women. For women, the age of peak performance was not significantly different between the three disciplines (P > 0.05), while for men, the best swimmers (29 ± 3 years) were significantly (P < 0.05) younger than the best runners (35 ± 5 years). During the study period, the age of peak performance remained unchanged for men at 31 ± 3 years (P > 0.05), but increased for women from 30 ± 4 years in 1995 to 36 ± 5 years in 2011 (P < 0.01).
Conclusion
Although both women and men improved their overall race times during the 1995–2011 period, the age of peak performance was similar between women and men in the three disciplines and in overall race time. Future studies need to examine the change in age of peak performance across years in the Ironman Hawaii world championship event.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S37115
PMCID: PMC3781912  PMID: 24198600
gender difference; swimming; cycling; running; ultraendurance
7.  Central European triathletes dominate Double Iron ultratriathlon – analysis of participation and performance 1985–2011 
Background
A recent study showed that European triathletes performed faster in Double Iron ultratriathlons than North American athletes. The present study analyzed triathletes participating in Double Iron ultratriathlons to determine the origin of the fastest Double Iron ultratriathletes, focusing on European countries.
Methods
Participation and performance trends of finishers in Double Iron ultratriathlons from 1985–2011 of the different countries were investigated. Additionally, the performance trends of the top three women and men overall from 2001–2011 were analyzed.
Results
A total of 1490 finishers originated from 24 different European countries and the United States. The number of European triathletes increased for both women (r2 = 0.56; P < 0.01) and men (r2 = 0.63; P < 0.01). The number of the North American triathletes increased for women (r2 = 0.25; P < 0.01), but not for men (r2 = 0.02; P > 0.05). Hungarian triathletes showed a significant improvement in both overall race times and in cycling split times, Swiss triathletes improved both their swim and run times, and French triathletes improved their swim times.
Conclusion
Men and women triathletes from Central European countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary improved Double Iron ultratriathlon overall race times and split times during the 26-year period. The reasons might be the social and economic factors required to be able to participate in such an expensive and lavish race. Also, a favorable climate may provide the ideal conditions for successful training. Future studies need to investigate the motivational aspects of European ultraendurance athletes.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S37001
PMCID: PMC3781910  PMID: 24198598
triathlon; ultraendurance; swimming; cycling; running
8.  Changes in single skinfold thickness in 100 km ultramarathoners 
Background
Changes in single skinfold thickness and body fat have been investigated in ultraswimmers and ultracyclists, but not in ultrarunners. The present study investigated the changes in single skinfold thickness during a 100 km ultramarathon.
Methods
Firstly, we investigated associations between prerace preparation and prerace body composition and, secondly, changes in single skinfold thickness during a 100 km ultramarathon in 219 male ultramarathoners. Changes in fat mass and skeletal muscle were estimated using anthropometric methods.
Results
Kilometers run weekly prerace and running speed during training were negatively associated with all skinfold thicknesses (P < 0.05) except for the front thigh skinfold. During the race, skinfold thickness at the pectoral (−0.1%), suprailiac (−1.8%), and calf (−0.8%) sites decreased (P < 0.05). The subjects lost 1.9 ± 1.4 kg of body mass (P < 0.001), 0.7 ± 1.0 kg of estimated skeletal muscle mass (P < 0.001), and 0.2 ± 1.3 kg of estimated fat mass (P < 0.05). The decrease in body mass was positively related to the decrease in both estimated skeletal muscle mass (r = 0.21, P = 0.0017) and estimated fat mass (r = 0.41, P < 0.0001).
Conclusion
Firstly, prerace fat mass and prerace skinfold thickness were associated with both volume and speed in running training. Secondly, during the ultramarathon, skinfold thickness decreased at the pectoral, suprailiac, and calf sites, but not at the thigh site. Percent decreases in skinfold thickness for ultrarunners was lower than the percent decreases in skinfold thickness reported for ultraswimmers and ultracyclists.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S37035
PMCID: PMC3781909  PMID: 24198597
endurance; athlete; fat mass; muscle mass; adipose subcutaneous tissue
9.  Comparison of anthropometric and training characteristics between recreational male marathoners and 24-hour ultramarathoners 
Background
Of the anthropometry and training variables used to predict race performance in a 24-hour ultrarun, the personal best marathon time is the strongest predictor in recreational male 24-hour ultramarathoners. This finding raises the question of whether similarities exist between male recreational 24-hour ultramarathoners and male recreational marathoners.
Methods
The association between age, anthropometric variables (ie, body mass, body height, body mass index, percent body fat, skeletal muscle mass, limb circumference, and skinfold thickness at the pectoral, mid axillary, triceps, subscapular, abdominal, suprailiac, front thigh, and medial calf sites), previous experience and training characteristics (ie, volume, speed, and personal best time), and race time for 79 male recreational 24-hour ultramarathoners and 126 male recreational marathoners was investigated using bivariate and multivariate analysis.
Results
The 24-hour ultramarathoners were older (P < 0.05), had a lower circumference at both the upper arm (P < 0.05) and thigh (P < 0.01), and a lower skinfold thickness at the pectoral, axillary, and suprailiac sites (P < 0.05) compared with the marathoners. During training, the 24-hour ultramarathoners were running for more hours per week (P < 0.001) and completed more kilometers (P < 0.001), but were running slower (P < 0.01) compared with the marathoners. In the 24-hour ultramarathoners, neither anthropometric nor training variables were associated with kilometers completed in the race (P > 0.05). In the marathoners, percent body fat (P < 0.001) and running speed during training (P < 0.0001) were related to marathon race times.
Conclusion
In summary, differences in anthropometric and training predictor variables do exist between male recreational 24-hour ultramarathoners and male recreational marathoners for race performance.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S37389
PMCID: PMC3781907  PMID: 24198595
endurance; performance; athlete; body fat; skinfold thickness
10.  Age-related changes in ultra-triathlon performances 
Background
The age-related decline in performance has been investigated in swimmers, runners and triathletes. No study has investigated the age-related performance decline in ultra-triathletes. The purpose of this study was to analyse the age-related declines in swimming, cycling, running and overall race time for both Triple Iron ultra-triathlon (11.4-km swimming, 540-km cycling and 126.6-km running) and Deca Iron ultra-triathlon (38-km swimming, 1,800-km cycling and 420-km running).
Methods
The age and performances of 423 male Triple Iron ultra-triathletes and 119 male Deca Iron ultra-triathletes were analysed from 1992 to 2010 using regression analyses and ANOVA.
Results
The mean age of the finishers was significantly higher for Deca Iron ultra-triathletes (41.3 ± 3.1 years) compared to a Triple Iron ultra-triathletes (38.5 ± 3.3 years) (P < 0.05). For both ultra-distances, the fastest overall race times were achieved between the ages of 25 and 44 years. Deca Iron ultra-triathletes achieved the same level of performance in swimming and cycling between 25 and 54 years of age.
Conclusions
The magnitudes of age-related declines in performance in the three disciplines of ultra-triathlon differ slightly between Triple and Deca Iron ultra-triathlon. Although the ages of Triple Iron ultra-triathletes were on average younger compared to Deca Iron ultra-triathletes, the fastest race times were achieved between 25 and 44 years for both distances. Further studies should investigate the motivation and training of ultra-triathletes to gain better insights in ultra-triathlon performance.
doi:10.1186/2046-7648-1-5
PMCID: PMC3707100  PMID: 23849327
Swimming; Cycling; Running; Ultra-endurance
11.  Participation and Performance Trends in Triple Iron Ultra-triathlon – a Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Data Analysis 
Asian Journal of Sports Medicine  2012;3(3):145-152.
Purpose
The aims of the present study were to investigate (i) the changes in participation and performance and (ii) the gender difference in Triple Iron ultra-triathlon (11.4 km swimming, 540 km cycling and 126.6 km running) across years from 1988 to 2011.
Methods
For the cross-sectional data analysis, the association between with overall race times and split times was investigated using simple linear regression analyses and analysis of variance. For the longitudinal data analysis, the changes in race times for the five men and women with the highest number of participations were analysed using simple linear regression analyses.
Results
During the studied period, the number of finishers were 824 (71.4%) for men and 80 (78.4%) for women. Participation increased for men (r 2=0.27, P<0.01) while it remained stable for women (8%). Total race times were 2,146 ± 127.3 min for men and 2,615 ± 327.2 min for women (P<0.001). Total race time decreased for men (r 2=0.17; P=0.043), while it increased for women (r 2=0.49; P=0.001) across years. The gender difference in overall race time for winners increased from 10% in 1992 to 42% in 2011 (r 2=0.63; P<0.001). The longitudinal analysis of the five women and five men with the highest number of participations showed that performance decreased in one female (r 2=0.45; P=0.01). The four other women as well as all five men showed no change in overall race times across years.
Conclusions
Participation increased and performance improved for male Triple Iron ultra-triathletes while participation remained unchanged and performance decreased for females between 1988 and 2011. The reasons for the increase of the gap between female and male Triple Iron ultra-triathletes need further investigations.
PMCID: PMC3445641  PMID: 23012633
Swimming; Bicycling; Running; Ultra-endurance; Athletic Performance
12.  Ad libitum fluid intake leads to no leg swelling in male Ironman triathletes – an observational field study 
Background
An association between fluid intake and limb swelling has been described for 100-km ultra-marathoners. We investigated a potential development of peripheral oedemata in Ironman triathletes competing over 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and 42.2 km running.
Methods
In 15 male Ironman triathletes, fluid intake, changes in body mass, fat mass, skeletal muscle mass, limb volumes and skinfold thickness were measured. Changes in renal function, parameters of skeletal muscle damage, hematologic parameters and osmolality in both serum and urine were determined. Skinfold thicknesses at hands and feet were measured using LIPOMETER® and changes of limb volumes were measured using plethysmography.
Results
The athletes consumed a total of 8.6 ± 4.4 L of fluids, equal to 0.79 ± 0.43 L/h. Body mass, skeletal muscle mass and the volume of the lower leg decreased (p <0.05), fat mass, skinfold thicknesses and the volume of the arm remained unchanged (p >0.05). The decrease in skeletal muscle mass was associated with the decrease in body mass (p <0.05). The decrease in the lower leg volume was unrelated to fluid intake (p >0.05). Haemoglobin, haematocrit and serum sodium remained unchanged (p >0.05). Osmolality in serum and urine increased (p <0.05). The change in body mass was related to post-race serum sodium concentration ([Na+]) (r = −0.52, p <0.05) and post-race serum osmolality (r = −0.60, p <0.05).
Conclusions
In these Ironman triathletes, ad libitum fluid intake maintained plasma [Na+] and plasma osmolality and led to no peripheral oedemata. The volume of the lower leg decreased and the decrease was unrelated to fluid intake. Future studies may investigate ultra-triathletes competing in a Triple Iron triathlon over 11.4 km swimming, 540 km cycling and 126.6 km running to find an association between fluid intake and the development of peripheral oedemata.
doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-40
PMCID: PMC3524467  PMID: 22937792
Peripheral oedemata; Fluid consumption; Renal function; Triathlon
13.  Running speed during training and percent body fat predict race time in recreational male marathoners 
Background
Recent studies have shown that personal best marathon time is a strong predictor of race time in male ultramarathoners. We aimed to determine variables predictive of marathon race time in recreational male marathoners by using the same characteristics of anthropometry and training as used for ultramarathoners.
Methods
Anthropometric and training characteristics of 126 recreational male marathoners were bivariately and multivariately related to marathon race times.
Results
After multivariate regression, running speed of the training units (β = −0.52, P < 0.0001) and percent body fat (β = 0.27, P < 0.0001) were the two variables most strongly correlated with marathon race times. Marathon race time for recreational male runners may be estimated to some extent by using the following equation (r2 = 0.44): race time ( minutes) = 326.3 + 2.394 × (percent body fat, %) − 12.06 × (speed in training, km/hours). Running speed during training sessions correlated with prerace percent body fat (r = 0.33, P = 0.0002). The model including anthropometric and training variables explained 44% of the variance of marathon race times, whereas running speed during training sessions alone explained 40%. Thus, training speed was more predictive of marathon performance times than anthropometric characteristics.
Conclusion
The present results suggest that low body fat and running speed during training close to race pace (about 11 km/hour) are two key factors for a fast marathon race time in recreational male marathoner runners.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S33284
PMCID: PMC3781899  PMID: 24198587
body fat; skinfold thickness; anthropometry; endurance; athlete
14.  Predictor Variables for Marathon Race Time in Recreational Female Runners 
Purpose
We intended to determine predictor variables of anthropometry and training for marathon race time in recreational female runners in order to predict marathon race time for future novice female runners.
Methods
Anthropometric characteristics such as body mass, body height, body mass index, circumferences of limbs, thicknesses of skin-folds and body fat as well as training variables such as volume and speed in running training were related to marathon race time using bi- and multi-variate analysis in 29 female runners.
Results
The marathoners completed the marathon distance within 251 (26) min, running at a speed of 10.2 (1.1) km/h. Body mass (r=0.37), body mass index (r=0.46), the circumferences of thigh (r=0.51) and calf (r=0.41), the skin-fold thicknesses of front thigh (r=0.38) and of medial calf (r=0.40), the sum of eight skin-folds (r=0.44) and body fat percentage (r=0.41) were related to marathon race time. For the variables of training, maximal distance ran per week (r=− 0.38), number of running training sessions per week (r=− 0.46) and the speed of the training sessions (r= − 0.60) were related to marathon race time. In the multi-variate analysis, the circumference of calf (P=0.02) and the speed of the training sessions (P=0.0014) were related to marathon race time. Marathon race time might be partially (r 2=0.50) predicted by the following equation: Race time (min)=184.4 + 5.0 x (circumference calf, cm) –11.9 x (speed in running during training, km/h) for recreational female marathoners.
Conclusions
Variables of both anthropometry and training were related to marathon race time in recreational female marathoners and cannot be reduced to one single predictor variable. For practical applications, a low circumference of calf and a high running speed in training are associated with a fast marathon race time in recreational female runners.
PMCID: PMC3426727  PMID: 22942994
Body Fat; Skin-fold; Training; Limb Circumference; Gender; Marathon
15.  An increased fluid intake leads to feet swelling in 100-km ultra-marathoners - an observational field study 
Background
An association between fluid intake and changes in volumes of the upper and lower limb has been described in 100-km ultra-marathoners. The purpose of the present study was (i) to investigate the association between fluid intake and a potential development of peripheral oedemas leading to an increase of the feet volume in 100-km ultra-marathoners and (ii) to evaluate a possible association between the changes in plasma sodium concentration ([Na+]) and changes in feet volume.
Methods
In seventy-six 100-km ultra-marathoners, body mass, plasma [Na+], haematocrit and urine specific gravity were determined pre- and post-race. Fluid intake and the changes of volume of the feet were measured where the changes of volume of the feet were estimated using plethysmography.
Results
Body mass decreased by 1.8 kg (2.4%) (p < 0.0001); plasma [Na+] increased by 1.2% (p < 0.0001). Haematocrit decreased (p = 0.0005). The volume of the feet remained unchanged (p > 0.05). Plasma volume and urine specific gravity increased (p < 0.0001). Fluid intake was positively related to the change in the volume of the feet (r = 0.54, p < 0.0001) and negatively to post-race plasma [Na+] (r = -0.28, p = 0.0142). Running speed was negatively related to both fluid intake (r = -0.33, p = 0.0036) and the change in feet volume (r = -0.23, p = 0.0236). The change in the volume of the feet was negatively related to the change in plasma [Na+] (r = -0.26, p = 0.0227). The change in body mass was negatively related to both post-race plasma [Na+] (r = -0.28, p = 0.0129) and running speed (r = -0.34, p = 0.0028).
Conclusions
An increase in feet volume after a 100-km ultra-marathon was due to an increased fluid intake.
doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-11
PMCID: PMC3366912  PMID: 22472466
Fluid intake; Peripheral oedemas; Sodium; Hydrations status; Ultra-marathon
16.  Atrophy of the brachialis muscle after a displaced clavicle fracture in an Ironman triathlete: case report 
Clavicle fractures are frequent injuries in athletes and midshaft clavicle fractures in particular are well-known injuries in Ironman triathletes. In 2000, Auzou et al. described the mechanism leading to an isolated truncular paralysis of the musculocutaneous nerve after a shoulder trauma. It is well-known that nerve palsies can lead to an atrophy of the associated muscle if they persist for months or even longer. In this case report we describe a new case of an Ironman triathlete suffering from a persistent isolated atrophy of the brachialis muscle. The atrophy occurred following a displaced midshaft clavicle fracture acquiring while falling off his bike after hitting a duck during a competition.
doi:10.1186/1749-7221-6-7
PMCID: PMC3201889  PMID: 21961883
Displaced clavicle fracture; Ironman triathlete; muscular-atrophy; brachialis muscle; brachial plexus
17.  Analysis of ultra-triathlon performances 
Despite increased interest in ultra-endurance events, little research has examined ultra-triathlon performance. The aims of this study were: (i) to compare swimming, cycling, running, and overall performances in three ultra-distance triathlons, double Ironman distance triathlon (2IMT) (7.6 km swimming, 360 km cycling, and 84.4 km running), triple Ironman distance triathlon (3IMT) (11.4 km, 540 km, and 126.6 km), and deca Ironman distance triathlon (10IMT) (38 km, 1800 km, and 420 km) and (ii) to examine the relationships between the 2IMT, 3IMT, and 10IMT performances to create predicted equations of the 10IMT performances. Race results from 1985 through 2009 were examined to identify triathletes who performed the three considered ultra-distances. In total, 73 triathletes (68 men and 5 women) were identified. The contribution of swimming to overall ultra-triathlon performance was lower than for cycling and running. Running performance was more important to overall performance for 2IMT and 3IMT compared with 10IMT The 2IMT and 3IMT performances were significantly correlated with 10IMT performances for swimming and cycling, but not for running. 10IMT total time performance might be predicted by the following equation: 10IMT race time (minutes) = 5885 + 3.69 × 3IMT race time (minutes). This analysis of human performance during ultra-distance triathlons represents a unique data set in the field of ultra-endurance events. Additional studies are required to determine the physiological and psychological factors associated with ultra-triathlon performance.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S22956
PMCID: PMC3781891  PMID: 24198579
triathlon; swimming; cycling; running; ultra-endurance
18.  Personal best times in an Olympic distance triathlon and in a marathon predict Ironman race time in recreational male triathletes 
Background
The purpose of this study was to define predictor variables for recreational male Ironman triathletes, using age and basic measurements of anthropometry, training, and previous performance to establish an equation for the prediction of an Ironman race time for future recreational male Ironman triathletes.
Methods
Age and anthropometry, training, and previous experience variables were related to Ironman race time using bivariate and multivariate analysis.
Results
A total of 184 recreational male triathletes, of mean age 40.9 ± 8.4 years, height 1.80 ± 0.06 m, and weight 76.3 ± 8.4 kg completed the Ironman within 691 ± 83 minutes. They spent 13.9 ± 5.0 hours per week in training, covering 6.3 ± 3.1 km of swimming, 194.4 ± 76.6 km of cycling, and 45.0 ± 15.9 km of running. In total, 149 triathletes had completed at least one marathon, and 150 athletes had finished at least one Olympic distance triathlon. They had a personal best time of 130.4 ± 44.2 minutes in an Olympic distance triathlon and of 193.9 ± 31.9 minutes in marathon running. In total, 126 finishers had completed both an Olympic distance triathlon and a marathon. After multivariate analysis, both a personal best time in a marathon (P < 0.0001) and in an Olympic distance triathlon (P < 0.0001) were the best variables related to Ironman race time. Ironman race time (minutes) might be partially predicted by the following equation: (r2 = 0.65, standard error of estimate = 56.8) = 152.1 + 1.332 × (personal best time in a marathon, minutes) + 1.964 × (personal best time in an Olympic distance triathlon, minutes).
Conclusion
These results suggest that, in contrast with anthropometric and training characteristics, both the personal best time in an Olympic distance triathlon and in a marathon predict Ironman race time in recreational male Ironman triathletes.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S23229
PMCID: PMC3781890  PMID: 24198578
body fat; swimming; cycling; running; triathlon
19.  Predictor variables for a half marathon race time in recreational male runners 
The aim of this study was to investigate predictor variables of anthropometry, training, and previous experience in order to predict a half marathon race time for future novice recreational male half marathoners. Eighty-four male finishers in the ‘Half Marathon Basel’ completed the race distance within (mean and standard deviation, SD) 103.9 (16.5) min, running at a speed of 12.7 (1.9) km/h. After multivariate analysis of the anthropometric characteristics, body mass index (r = 0.56), suprailiacal (r = 0.36) and medial calf skin fold (r = 0.53) were related to race time. For the variables of training and previous experience, speed in running of the training sessions (r = −0.54) were associated with race time. After multivariate analysis of both the significant anthropometric and training variables, body mass index (P = 0.0150) and speed in running during training (P = 0.0045) were related to race time. Race time in a half marathon might be partially predicted by the following equation (r2 = 0.44): Race time (min) = 72.91 + 3.045 * (body mass index, kg/m2) −3.884 * (speed in running during training, km/h) for recreational male runners. To conclude, variables of both anthropometry and training were related to half marathon race time in recreational male half marathoners and cannot be reduced to one single predictor variable.
doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S23027
PMCID: PMC3781889  PMID: 24198577
anthropometry; body fat; skin-folds; training; endurance
20.  No effect of short-term amino acid supplementation on variables related to skeletal muscle damage in 100 km ultra-runners - a randomized controlled trial 
Background
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of short-term supplementation of amino acids before and during a 100 km ultra-marathon on variables of skeletal muscle damage and muscle soreness. We hypothesized that the supplementation of amino acids before and during an ultra-marathon would lead to a reduction in the variables of skeletal muscle damage, a decrease in muscle soreness and an improved performance.
Methods
Twenty-eight experienced male ultra-runners were divided into two groups, one with amino acid supplementation and the other as a control group. The amino acid group was supplemented a total of 52.5 g of an amino acid concentrate before and during the 100 km ultra-marathon. Pre- and post-race, creatine kinase, urea and myoglobin were determined. At the same time, the athletes were asked for subjective feelings of muscle soreness.
Results
Race time was not different between the groups when controlled for personal best time in a 100 km ultra-marathon. The increases in creatine kinase, urea and myoglobin were not different in both groups. Subjective feelings of skeletal muscle soreness were not different between the groups.
Conclusions
We concluded that short-term supplementation of amino acids before and during a 100 km ultra-marathon had no effect on variables of skeletal muscle damage and muscle soreness.
doi:10.1186/1550-2783-8-6
PMCID: PMC3079604  PMID: 21473783
21.  Leg skinfold thicknesses and race performance in male 24-hour ultra-marathoners 
The association of skinfold thicknesses with race performance has been investigated in runners competing over distances of ≤50 km. This study investigated a potential relation between skinfold thicknesses and race performance in male ultra-marathoners completing >50 km in 24 hours. Variables of anthropometry, training, and previous performance were related to race performance in 63 male ultra-marathoners aged 46.9 (standard deviation [SD] 10.3) years, standing 1.78 (SD 0.07) m in height, and weighing 73.3 (SD 7.6) kg. The runners clocked 146.1 (SD 43.1) km during the 24 hours. In the bivariate analysis, several variables were associated with race performance: body mass (r = −0.25); skinfold thickness at axilla (r = −0.37), subscapula (r = −0.28), abdomen (r = −0.31), and suprailiaca (r = −0.30); the sum of skinfold thicknesses (r = −0.32); percentage body fat (r = −0.32); weekly kilometers run (r = 0.31); personal best time in a marathon (r = −0.58); personal best time in a 100-km ultra-run (r = −0.31); and personal best performance in a 24-hour run (r = 0.46). In the multivariate analysis, no anthropometric or training variable was related to race performance. In conclusion, in contrast to runners up to distances of 50 km, skinfold thicknesses of the lower limbs were not related to race performance in 24-hour ultra-marathoners.
PMCID: PMC3069518  PMID: 21566757
22.  Predictor variables for half marathon race time in recreational female runners 
Clinics  2011;66(2):287-291.
INTRODUCTION:
The relationship between skin-fold thickness and running performance has been investigated from 100 m to the marathon distance, except the half marathon distance.
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate whether anthropometry characteristics or training practices were related to race time in 42 recreational female half marathoners to determine the predictor variables of half-marathon race time and to inform future novice female half marathoners.
METHODS:
Observational field study at the ‘Half Marathon Basel’ in Switzerland.
RESULTS:
In the bivariate analysis, body mass (r = 0.60), body mass index (r = 0.48), body fat (r = 0.56), skin-fold at pectoral (r = 0.61), mid-axilla (r = 0.69), triceps (r = 0.49), subscapular (r = 0.61), abdominal (r = 0.59), suprailiac (r = 0.55) medial calf (r = 0.53) site, and speed of the training sessions (r = -0.68) correlated to race time. Mid-axilla skin-fold (p = 0.04) and speed of the training sessions (p = 0.0001) remained significant after multi-variate analysis. Race time in a half marathon might be predicted by the following equation (r2 = 0.71): Race time (min)  =  166.7 + 1.7x (mid-axilla skin-fold, mm) - 6.4x (speed in training, km/h). Running speed during training was related to skin-fold thickness at mid-axilla (r = -0.31), subscapular (r = -0.38), abdominal (r = -0.44), suprailiacal (r = -0.41), the sum of eight skin-folds (r = -0.36) and percent body fat (r = -0.31).
CONCLUSION:
Anthropometric and training variables were related to half-marathon race time in recreational female runners. Skin-fold thicknesses at various upper body locations were related to training intensity. High running speed in training appears to be important for fast half-marathon race times and may reduce upper body skin-fold thicknesses in recreational female half marathoners.
doi:10.1590/S1807-59322011000200018
PMCID: PMC3059852  PMID: 21484048
Anthropometry; Body fat; Athlete; Endurance; Gender
23.  Influence of anthropometry on race performance in extreme endurance triathletes: World Challenge Deca Iron Triathlon 2006 
British Journal of Sports Medicine  2007;41(10):644-648.
Objective
To investigate the influence of anthropometric variables on race performance in ultra‐endurance triathletes in an ultra‐triathlon.
Design
Descriptive field study.
Setting
The “World Challenge Deca Iron Triathlon 2006” in Monterrey, Mexico, in which everyday for 10 consecutive days athletes had to perform the distance of one Ironman triathlon of 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and 42.195 km running.
Subjects
Eight male ultra‐endurance athletes (mean (SD) age 40.6 (10.7) years, weight 76.4 (8.4) kg, height 175 (4) cm and body mass index (BMI) 24.7 (2.2) kg/m2).
Interventions
None.
Main outcome measures
Direct measurement of body mass, height, leg length, skinfold thicknesses, limb circumference and calculation of BMI, skeletal muscle mass (SM), percentage SM (%SM) and percentage body fat (%BF) in order to correlate measured and calculated anthropometric variables with race performance.
Results
Race time was not significantly (p>0.05) influenced by the directly measured variables, height, leg length, body mass, average skinfold thicknesses, or circumference of thigh, calf or upper arm. Furthermore, no significant (p>0.05) correlation was observed between race time and the calculated variables, BMI, %SM and %BF.
Conclusions
In a multistage ultra‐triathlon over 10 Ironman triathlon distances in 10 consecutive days, there was no effect of body mass, height, leg length, skinfold thicknesses, limb circumference, BMI, %SM or %BF on race performance in the only eight finishers.
doi:10.1136/bjsm.2006.035014
PMCID: PMC2465179  PMID: 17556527
body mass index; skeletal muscle mass; fat mass; extreme endurance; ultra triathlon
24.  Is Body Fat a Predictor of Race Time in Female Long-Distance Inline Skaters? 
Asian Journal of Sports Medicine  2010;1(3):131-136.
Purpose
The aim of this study was to evaluate predictor variables of race time in female ultra-endurance inliners in the longest inline race in Europe.
Methods
We investigated the association between anthropometric and training characteristics and race time for 16 female ultra-endurance inline skaters, at the longest inline marathon in Europe, the ‘Inline One-eleven’ over 111 km in Switzerland, using bi- and multivariate analysis.
Results
The mean (SD) race time was 289.7 (54.6) min. The bivariate analysis showed that body height (r=0.61), length of leg (r=0.61), number of weekly inline skating training sessions (r=-0.51) and duration of each training unit (r=0.61) were significantly correlated with race time. Stepwise multiple regressions revealed that body height, duration of each training unit, and age were the best variables to predict race time.
Conclusion
Race time in ultra-endurance inline races such as the ‘Inline One-eleven’ over 111 km might be predicted by the following equation (r2=0.65): Race time (min)=-691.62+521.71 (body height, m)+0.58 (duration of each training unit, min)+1.78 (age, yrs) for female ultra-endurance inline skaters.
PMCID: PMC3289175  PMID: 22375200
Skinfold thickness; Physical Endurance; Body Fat; Skating; Training volume

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