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Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,111
Online ISSN 1827-1928
Peters E. M. 1, Robson P. J. 2, Kleinveldt N. C. 1, Naicker V. L. 3, Jogessar V. D. 3
1 Department of Physiology School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine University of Natal, Durban, South Africa
2 Department of Physiological Sciences University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
3 Department of Haematology, Faculty of Medicine University of Natal, Durban, South Africa
Aim. Haematological response to the 2001 downhill Comrades Marathon was compared in high (>120 km/w in training; 3 weeks of pre-race taper) and low (<80 km/w in training; 2 weeks of pre-race taper) training status groups.
Methods. Full blood counts, differential lymphocyte counts (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19, CD56), serum cortisol, C-reactive protein (CRP) and creatine kinase (CK) were measured in blood samples donated 21 hours before and 16 hours after a 90 km ultramarathon.
Results. Despite significantly faster mean race finishing time (8.03 h vs 10.53 h; p<0.001) and greater percentage incidence (55.6% vs 40%) of post-race upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in the highly trained group, these faster runners did not show evidence of a slower post-race recovery in terms of total leukocyte, neutrophil, total or differential lymphocyte counts (p>0.05). CRP concentrations were, however, markedly higher in the slower, less trained group (65.3±10.7 vs 38.3±5.9; p<0.01).
Conclusion. Despite greater systemic evidence of post-race muscle inflammation and an acute phase response in the slower runners in a downhill ultramarathon race, the haematological recovery of well trained runners who undergo a 3-week taper period prior to the ultramarathon is not different to that in less trained runners who spend almost 3 hours longer on the road. The higher prevalence of post-race URTI symptoms in the fast, well trained group does not appear to be related to lymphocyte recovery in peripheral blood.