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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 October;59(10):1608-21

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09840-2

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Pre-race determinants influencing performance and finishing of a transcontinental 4486-km ultramarathon

Uwe H. SCHÜTZ 1 , Martin EHRHARDT 2, Meinrad BEER 1, Arno SCHMIDT-TRUCKSÄSS 3, Christian BILLICH 1

1 Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital of Ulm, Ulm, Germany; 2 Orthopedic Clinics, Hessing Foundation, Augsburg, Germany; 3 Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland



BACKGROUND: Pre-race determinants influencing performance and finishing of one of the largest transcontinental multistage ultramarathons were investigated.
METHODS: Forty-four participants of the TransEurope FootRace 2009 (TEFR), running 4486 km in 64 stages (average 70.1 km daily) were analyzed regarding training and running history. This included years of regular endurance running (PRY), number of finished marathons, ultramarathons (UM) and multistage ultramarathons (MSUM), pre-race records (PRR) for marathon and specific UM races and the extent of pre-race training (PRT) in the last year before TEFR: volume (km/week), duration (h/week) and intensity (km/h).
RESULTS: Mean total running speed during TEFR was 8.25 km/h.Seventy-one percent of subjects finished the race. The mean PRT-volume extends 5500 km. Finishers and non-finishers of the TEFR did not show significant difference in any tested pre-race determinants. There was no association between PRY, number of finished marathons, UM, and MSUM and TEFR performance. There was very strong positive correlation between PRT-intensity and TEFR performance. PRT volume correlated with a medium effect size to TEFR performance. PRR in specific ultra-races (6-hour, 50-km, 100-km races) showed a high correlation to TEFR performance. Performance in ultramarathon correlates inversely with age.
CONCLUSIONS: Like in other endurance disciplines with shorter distances, in ultra-long multistage endurance running the athletes also need a stage-specific pre-race experience, training and adaptation if he wants to end up with a good performance. But dropping out of a MSUM seems not to be consistent with regard to specific pre-race experience. Further research results of TEFR project may reveal potential risk factors for non-finishing a transcontinental footrace.


KEY WORDS: Endurance training; Exercise; Athletic performance; Human physical conditioning

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