• Marathon des Sables: A scientific case study

      Ryder, J. J.; Grantham, N. J.; Kellett, David; Jones, G. E.; University of Hull ; University College Chester ; University College Chester ; University College Chester ; University College Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2004-01)
      The Marathon des Sables is an ultra-endurance foot race across the Sahara Desert. The event lasts 6 days, and competitors are susceptible to a variety of specific injuries, including dehydration, heat stress, and ultimately poor performance. This study involved the monitoring of a highly trained 42-year-old male competitor through a 6-month training program and immediately after the event. The monitoring sessions assessed maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 Max), pulmonary function, anthropometric characteristics, body composition, resting metabolic rate, training, and nutritional status. The subject also completed a period of acclimation during the taper phase of the training program in an environmental chamber. The last pre-race VO2max of 4.5 1-min showed a decrease of 0.5 1-min. The subject's diet successfully maintained body weight during the training period, and the subject's weight increased from 67.7kg at 12.2% body fat to 71kg at 13.2% body fat during the taper. The subject sustained no chronic injuries during the training or race periods. We concluded that the intervention strategies adopted were successful in preparing the subject to successfully complete the Marathon des Sables. The athlete covered the 229km in 29hr 21min 21sec, finishing in 75th place.