Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 357 - 364

Research article
A Multi-Stage Ultra-Endurance Run over 1,200 KM Leads to a Continuous Accumulation of Total Body Water
Beat Knechtle1,2, , Brida Duff1, Ingo Schulze3, Götz Kohler4
Author Information
1 Gesundheitszentrum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland
2 Department of General Practice, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
3 Deutschlandlauf, Horb-Nordstetten, Germany
4 Division of Biophysical Chemistry, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Beat Knechtle
✉ Facharzt FMH für Allgemeinmedizin, Gesundheitszentrum, Vadianstrasse 26, 9001 St. Gallen, Switzerland
Publish Date
Received: 06-03-2008
Accepted: 27-06-2008
Published (online): 01-09-2008
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We determined whether ultra-runners in a multi-stage ultra- endurance run lose body mass, fat mass, skeletal muscle mass or total body water in a descriptive field study at the ‘Deutschlandlauf’ 2007 a 1,200 km run within 17 consecutive days with 10 male non-professional Caucasian ultra-runners (mean ± SD, 43.8 ± 6.2 years, 73.8 ± 6.0 kg body mass, 1.77 ± 0.05 m body height, BMI 23.3 ± 1.8 kg·m-2). Body mass, fat mass, skeletal muscle mass, lean body mass and percent total body water were determined using bioelectrical impedance analysis and the anthropometric method before the race and after each stage. In addition, urinary specific gravity was measured in order to quantify hydration status. Fat mass (bioelectrical impedance analysis) decreased by 3.9 kg (p < 0.05), skeletal muscle mass (anthropometric method) decreased by 2.0 kg (p < 0.05) whereas percent total body water increased by 6.1 % (p < 0.05) by the end of the race. Ultra-runners in a multi-stage ultra-endurance event over 1,200 km, with 17 consecutive stages, showed a cumulative increase in percent total body water, a decrease in skeletal muscle mass and a decrease in fat mass, depending upon the method used. We presume that the eccentric component of running leads to damage of skeletal muscle, leading to rhabdomyolysis, with impaired renal function.

Key words: Body fat, body mass, dehydration, skeletal muscle mass

           Key Points
  • Ultra-runners in a multi-stage ultra-endurance run over 1,200 km in 17 consecutive stages suffered a decrease in fat mass, skeletal muscle mass and an increase in total body water, whereas overall body mass showed no change.
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