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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 June;61(6):836-43

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11388-4


language: English

Elite 100-km road ultramarathon runners: characteristics and musculoskeletal injuries

Pavao VLAHEK 1, 2, Valentina MATIJEVIĆ 3, Juraj HAVAŠ 4, Dario DILBER 5 , Jurica VERONEK 2, Vedran BALTA 6

1 Polyclinic Medikol, Čakovec, Croatia; 2 University of North Varaždin, Varaždin, Croatia; 3 Department of Rheumatology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Clinical Hospital Center, Sestre Milosrdnice University, Zagreb, Croatia; 4 School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia; 5 Deparment of Cardiology, County Hospital of Čakovec, Čakovec, Croatia; 6 Division of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

BACKGROUND: Currently known data about ultramarathon medical issues has been collected from all combinations of ultramarathon race types (road, trail, etc.) and the population in those studies consists of mixed elite and recreational athletes. There are few studies concerning injuries related to musculoskeletal system injuries in ultramarathon runners.
METHODS: The study was conducted on total of 77 elite ultramarathoners based on a questionnaire-based survey. We studied the elite male and female athletes who participated in the 30th IAU 100-km World Championships held in Croatia, in 2018.
RESULTS: Ultramarathon runners have higher percentage of lower-leg injuries and rehabilitation of those injuries tend to last longer as ultramarathon runners show specific training habits with less days off and hold a permanent, full-time job and often with a higher academic degree. Furthermore, also the mean age is higher.
CONCLUSIONS: Ultramarathoners have a higher percentage of lower-leg injuries than runners who do not run distances beyond a marathon. In addition, rehabilitation tends to last longer. This may well be correlated also to their specific training loads with fewer days off and training whilst holding a permanent full-time job. Often, they also hold a higher academic degree with years spent in the education system which might influence their mindsets on the medical issues they encounter. Also, being older may also have a bearing on injury occurrence and rehabilitation time.

KEY WORDS: Athletes; Marathon runners; Cumulative trauma disorders

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