Consistency is key when setting a new world record for running 10 marathons in 10 days

Nicolas Berger, Daniel Cooley, Michael Graham, Claire Harrison, Georgia Campbell, Russ Best

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Background: We describe the requirements and physiological changes when running 10 consecutive marathons in 10 days at the same consistent pace by a female ultra-endurance athlete. Methods: Sharon Gayter (SG) 54 yrs, 162.5 cm, 49.3 kg maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) 53 mL/kg−1 /min−1. SG completed 42.195 km on a treadmill every day for 10 days. We measured heart rate (HR), Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE), oxygen uptake (VO2), weight, body composition, blood parameters, nutrition, and hydration. Results: SG broke the previous record by ~2.5 h, with a cumulative completion time of 43 h 51 min 39 s. Over the 10 days, weight decreased from 51 kg to 48.4 kg, bodyfat mass from 9.1 kg to 7.2 kg (17.9% to 14.8%), and muscle mass from 23.2 kg to 22.8 kg. For all marathons combined, exercise intensity was ~60% VO2 max; VO2 1.6 ± 0.1 L.min−1 /32.3 ± 1.1−1.min−1, RER 0.8 ± 0, HR 143 ± 4 b.min−1. Energy expenditure (EE) was 2030 ± 82 kcal/marathon, total EE for 10 days (including BMR) was 33,056 kcal, daily energy intake (EI) 2036 ± 418 kcal (20,356 kcal total), resulting an energy deficit (ED) of 12,700 kcal. Discussion: Performance and pacing were highly consistent across all 10 marathons without any substantial physiological decrements. Although overall EI did not match EE, leading to a significant ED, resulting in a 2.6 kg weight loss and decreases in bodyfat and skeletal muscle mass, this did not affect performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12066
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


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