London 2012 Olympic Park

London became in 2012 the first city hosting the Olympic Games for a third time, after doing so in 1908 and 1948. To do so, it defeated bids from Moscow, New York, Madrid and Paris. 

Despite using existing venues a new Olympic Park was built in the industrial area of Stratford, in East London.

At sports level, London 2012 welcomed the first female athletes from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei, an important step forward for women´s rights in these countries.

The women´s marathon was scheduled for August 5th at 11.00 using a flat course that started and finished at The Mall, very close to Buckingham Palace.

Without the local legend Paula Radcliffe, absent with a foot injury, the main favourites were the African athletes that have shined in the previous World Championships, in Daegu 2011: Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo, from Kenya, who had topped the podium, and Aselefech Mergia, from Ethiopia, who had finished 3rd. Also, worth to mention the Russian Liliya Shobukhova, who had won in Chicago 2011 with a PB of 2.18.20, the second fastest of all-time.

From left to right Keitany (Kenya), Gelana (Ethiopia) and Jeptoo (Kenya) at the London 2012 Olympic Marathon

Tiki Gelana was born in Jijiga, a town in Ethiopia famous for producing many top runners, in 1987. Her uncle was the Sydney Olympic Marathon winner Gezhagne Abera. She began competing in road races in Ethiopia before running at international level. Her first marathon was in Dublin in 2009, finishing 3rd in 2.33.49. The following year she run the marathons of Los Angeles and Dublin again, improving her PB to 2.29.53. She didn´t wait long to claim a victory, that came in the Amsterdam Marathon of 2011 with 2.22.08. But she still had room for improvement, as she demonstrated by winning the Rotterdam Marathon of 2012 with a PB of 2.18.58. That was the 4th best time for a female ever. That result, only a few months before the Olympics, placed Gelana as one of the strongest contenders in London 2012.

Just 30 minutes before the marathon start a heavy thunderstorm introduced a typical British summer day to the spectators watching around the globe. Still raining, 118 athletes from 68 nations started the race, chasing a place in Olympic glory.

The 10k was reached in 34.46, with a large leading group where the powerful squads of Kenya, Ethiopia and Japan run comfortably. Things didn´t change much. Valeria Straneo from Italy was leading a big group when crossing the 20k in 1.09.26.

Soon after Mary Keitany from Kenya decided to heat things up by increasing the pace, that quickly reduced the group. By the time the front runners arrived to the 30k (1.42.44) Keitany was only accompanied by her teammates Kiplagat and Jeptoo and the Ethiopians Gelana and Tirunesh Dibaba. They had a 9s lead on fast coming Tatyana Petrova, from Russia, who was only a few seconds ahead over Shanale Flanagan, from the US.

By the 35k (1.59.29) Petrova, Gelana, Keitany and Jeptoo were 4s ahead of Kiplagat and 27s ahead of Flanagan y Dibaba. The leading group only increased its advantage, arriving to the 40k in 2.16.10. It was clear that among these four runners would have to fight for the three medal positions. One of them would miss the podium and taste defeat.

Gelana, who had run mostly within herself, saw her chances increase during the last 1500 metres. When Keitany slowed down, she surged ahead. With Keitany out, and soon after Petrova, everything came down to a duel between Gelana and Jeptoo. In a fiery sprint Gelana claimed victory for Ethiopia in 2.23.07, Olympic record, and another Olympic gold medallist in the marathon for her nation. She was followed closely by Jeptoo (2.23.12), winning the third consecutive silver medal for Kenya, and Petrova (2.23.29) of Russia. Meanwhile Keitany, who had taken leading duties for most of the race, had to settle with the 4th place.

Shortly after the Olympics Tiki Gelana improved her PB in the half marathon to 1.07.48 at the Great North Run and was chosen the AIMS World Athlete of the Year. Selected for the marathon Ethiopian team at the 2013 Moscow World Championship she dropped out after just 5k. She finished 9th in the 2014 London Marathon (2.26.58) and third in Tokyo in 2015 (2.24.26) before retiring, aged 29.



London 2012 gold Olympic medal



With marathons becoming more popular worldwide, higher numbers of amateur runners decide to take the challenge and complete the Pheidippides distance.

Nevertheless, completing a marathon imply a high strain over the body, whose effects can last for days after the race. Among the main symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) there is soreness, swelling, impaired motion and reduced neuromuscular function (connection between nervous cells and muscles). All these symptoms limit the runner’s ability for returning to normal training.

Consequently, optimizing marathon recovery is key for runners to pursue training routines.

A recent study analysed the effects of two types of exercise (running or elliptical training), and resting of the neuromuscular performance and muscle damage recovery during post-marathon week.


The study

64 runners of the Valencia Marathon 2016 participated in the study, divided in three groups: Rest, Run or Elip. They were aged between 30 and 45, healthy and with marathon PB between 3 and 4 hours (males) or 3h30m and 4h30m (females).

They performed two tests:

  • a cardiopulmonary exercise test (VO2max), using a treadmill, 2 to 4 weeks before the marathon.
  • a neuromuscular performance test, using a squat jump (jumping as high as possible from a partially flexed position), before and after the race, and 48, 96 and 144h post-marathon.

All participants didn´t train for the first 48h after the race. Then:

  • RUN and ELIP groups trained 48, 96 and 144h after the marathon, or in other words, 2, 4 and 6 days later (40 minutes at moderate intensity in alternating days).
  • REST group didn´t go back training until day 8 post-marathon (1 whole week resting).

The results

  • Muscle damage recovered equally exercising (run or elliptical on alternated days at moderate intensity) and resting.
  • Runners who did a running training session 48h post-marathon showed an enhancement of neuromuscular performance (squat jump test) at 96h, unlike participants who rested or used elliptical training.
  • Faster runners didn´t benefit of a return to running at 48h post-marathon.



  • A return to running at low intenstiy could be advisable 48h post-marathon, although for faster runners such return should be delayed an extra 48h due to slower muscle damage recovery.
  • Such return to running should be avoided if there is still much musculoskeletal pain (that could affect biomechanics) and replaced by elliptical training.


We hope that you find this information useful and wait for your comments about your experiences post-marathon.


I. Martínez-Navarro, A. Montoya-Vieco, C. Hernando, B. Hernando, N. Panizo & E. Collado (2021) The week after running a marathon: Effects of running vs elliptical training vs resting on neuromuscular performance and muscle damage recovery, European Journal of Sport Science, 21:12, 1668-1674, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2020.1857441


Special award of the 25th Spartathlon running

The Spartathlon is one of the most popular and difficult ultra-marathons in the world. Celebrated since 1983 it covers the 246 kilometres of the route from Athens to Sparta, following a tough course that must be covered within 36h.

A race as demanding as this one has entry requirements (obtained during the previous 3 years) as difficult as:

  • 120k (men) or 110k (women) in a 12h race.
  • 180k (men) or 170k (women) in a 24h race.
  • Finish the ‘Western States 100 Miles’ within 24h (men) or 25h (women)
  • Finish the ‘Badwater’ (235k) within 39h (men) or 40h (women).

These conditions ensure that only the best ultramarathoners compete in the race.

A recent retrospective study with data until 2019 investigated the trends in performance and participation in the Sparthatlon.

The monument to the Spartathlon winners in Sparta

Facts and numbers about the Sparthatlon (up to 2019)

  • Officially 3504 ultra-marathoners (3097 men and 407 women) finished the Spartathlon.
  • The age group with the highest number of participants was the 40–49 years group.
  • The country with most finishers was Japan (737), followed by Germany (393), Greece (326), and France (274).
  • The countries with the highest numbers of athletes in the top-5 were Japan (71), Germany (59), and UK (31).
  • About the running speed by age, the fastest athletes were in the age groups of 20-29 and 30–39 years in men and 30-39 and 40–49 years in women.
  • When considering the annual top five finishers and winners, there was an improvement of performance in men and women.
  • When considering ALL runners, performance was relatively stable over the years.

Age and performance in the longest ultra-marathons

It is well known that the age of peak ultra-marathon performance increases with the length of the race.

In 50k ultra-marathons women achieved best race times later in life than men. However, in 100k races, women achieved best performances younger than men.

With no data available about sex differences in performance for ultra-marathons longer than 100k, future studies would need to investigate the age of peak performance and any sex differences over these distances.

Spartathlon medal (front)
Spartathlon medal (back)


From Athens to Sparta—37 Years of Spartathlon. Knechtle B, Gomes M, Scheer V, Gajda R, Nikolaidis PT, Hill L, Rosemann T, Sousa CV. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(9):4914.

VALDEBEBAS MARATHON (19/03/2022 – 107)

Most of the marathon participants

Surely many do not even know where Valdebebas (a neighborhood in Madrid) is, and even less that a marathon is held there. Well, there is one, small, among friends, which is now in its fifth edition, thanks to his alma mater David Paños.

Away from the atmosphere of crowded marathons, here you don’t run for a personal best, the route, tourism, or some of the typical motives that lead us to run other marathons. The spirit of Philippides, however, is still present.

We ran the second edition, in 2019, an occasion in which I met for the first time some of the “marathoniacs” with whom I later coincided on multiple occasions chasing the 42k. In 2020, its edition coincided with the day the state of alarm was declared, and even though I was registered, did not attend.

Later we came to appreciate more this kind of marathons, call them artisans, familiar or clandestine. During the long months of absence of popular races, the “Madrid Squad” unleashed, with a frenzy of races in its area of ​​influence. David and Lola, among its most active members, did not hesitate to go to CyL to join the races we organized in Burgos and Valladolid.

Each of these marathons contributed to the total. The Valdebebbas 2022 edition was going to coincide with the 100th marathon of both David and Lola. There was no better reason to go and thus be present at their joining in the “centenary club”. Both were there and contributed (among others) to reach my 100th in the Mapoma last September.

Therefore, a motley group of lovers (or addicts) to the marathon arrived to Valdebebas. Between the 18 participants more than 2200 marathons…

With good weather we face the tough 40 laps of Avenida Alejandro de la Sota, in front of the Real Madrid Sports City. The slight slope and especially the tiled surface did not make things easy. Also add the monotony of counting laps, although due to the proximity between runners there were always words of encouragement when passing or being lapped by others.

On this occasion the marathon was not as much to look for a finishing time (although deep down I was counting on doing a sub 4h), as to share the experience… Crossing the half marathon around 2 hours the race was not going to be an easy task and I start accusing every lap from the number 23.

Slowly, but steadily, I keep adding laps. I face the last one while Lola crosses the finish line of her 100th marathon. My time 4.12.31, finishing with just enough time to applaud David as he completes also his 100th.

There we wait, with family and friends who have come for the occasion, for the other runners to finish. The post-race, well stocked, is worth the effort.

The anecdotes, photos and various memories of these fellow sufferers, a valuable group, are worth its weight in gold. We know that other marathons will come, and perhaps even another Valdebebas (if David is still eager), but now is time for them to celebrate those 100 marathons, which nobody can take away.

We will certainly see each other on other starting lines. This is just the beginning…


The night marathon was “the marathon of Bilbao”. We ran it a few years ago, and despite some criticism, we liked the experience, with its start in San Mamés. Perhaps it is a particular taste for night marathons…

A week later than the Castelló marathon, we signed up for the Bilbao-Bizkaia just the last night before closing registrations. It was a first edition, and worth a try. Like the previous week, we adjusted the arrival in Bilbao to late afternoon, and once again we found the expo about to close. With few stands and runners, picking up the bib-number and t-shirt was just a matter of minutes.

Following the usual routine, we went back to the hotel, not far from the start on the Puente de la Salve. With the marathon scheduled at 9.15, there is also a 10k at 8.30. With rain in the forecast, I meet David at 8.45. Better not to spend much time outdoors.

Start area (Puente de la Salve)

Upon arrival, we realize with dismay that the 10k race has not started yet. Without many explanations, it is 9.15 and there is still no one running. With luck that time endures, the minutes go by. Between whistles, and already thinking about a possible cancellation, at 9.40 someone from the organization takes the microphone. Due to the lack of volunteers at some crossings, and without sufficient security conditions, the start has not yet been possible, they explain. They confirm that despite everything, both races will star simultaneously at 10.00.

With everyone a little nervous about the situation, no separation or time slots, we finally start the race. The first kilometres we wander through Bilbao, overpassing some of the slower runners, before taking the right side of the estuary, and leaving the city. Always on the right side, we reach the Getxo beach area, where at kilometre 19.5 we turn around to Bilbao and the finish line, next to the Guggenheim Museum.

This time with more modest ambitions than the previous week, I maintain behind the 3h45m group. Generally, I try to be outside groups, especially if they are numerous, to make my life easier at the aid stations and avoid the risk of falling.

Once Bilbao is left behind, we enter an industrial area with few distractions. I cross the 10k in 53.27. Arriving at Getxo and its turnaround point, the views improve a bit. With the half marathon in 1.53.09, more than 4 minutes slower than in Castelló, I feel with more energy than last week. It seems that the worst is over.

Finish line

Arriving in Bilbao we face one of the most confusing areas, the last 10-11 kilometres, largely corresponding to the section between Avenida de las Universidades and Paseo Campo Volantín. An almost straight line that we must run in one direction, then in the opposite, and go back again to face the finish line. In this section, there are runners on 3 adjacent roads, without much clarification about which one to follow. Hence the consequent risk of shortening (or lengthening) the race by several kilometres and being disqualified (as will happen to some runners).

Even so, by asking, and with some doubts, I manage to stay on the right path. Thanks to having reserved energy in the first half, I manage to maintain a lively pace and overtake quite a few runners in this last section. However, I can’t catch up with the 3h45m group, which I come across on numerous laps, and which has fewer members.

With the Guggenheim in front, it’s a matter of following the walk along the estuary for one last time. I cross the finish line in a net time of 3.49.17, having completed the second half of the race just a couple of minutes slower than the first, a personal milestone given the last experiences.

Thus, I complete the 50th marathon in Spain, for a total of 106.

Finishing the race

Rating: 2/5

A marathon that has much to improve to establish itself on the national scene, and above all to convince all of us who went to Bilbao to come back for a hypothetical second edition.

PS: Thanks to Jaime Nina for the photos in the finish line.

CASTELLO MARATHON (27/02/22 – 105)

Parque Ribalta

Returning to the marathon in Castelló was returning to the last “normal” race, without masks, which I ran before Covid-19, back in February 2020.

Unable to run the Murcia marathon because of its date, and with no registrations available in Sevilla, Castelló stood as the best marathon option for February. What I didn´t realised was how complicated the trip from Valladolid was, especially to return. Last time I had flown from Lisbon to Valencia. For the outward journey I was lucky enough to have a direct train, which left me in Castelló just 40 minutes before the closure of the running expo. Just enough time to pick up the running bib at the expo, where the stands were already being removed, and go buy some supplies for breakfast.

After a short tour of the city, I retire early to rest. With the hotel next to Parque Ribalta, the start and finish area, I just need to get down a few minutes before to get into my finishing time box and join the rest of the participants. There are two distances, a 10k, starting at 900, and the marathon, starting at 9:15.

With an ideal temperature for running and partially cloudy skies, we go punctual for the 42k, through a completely urban and flat circuit, which we will do two laps.

Waiting for the start

For the initial segment I keep the 3h30m group in sight. I cross the 10k in 51.12, and the half marathon in 1.48.37. With half of the work done, the question is to see how slower I will run the second half of the race. A bit behind are coming Lola, David, Pepe, Txema and company.

Well supplied, the drinking stations are many, and an example of efficacy and good organization. Thus, the World Athletics label.

On the second lap through the port area, the Sun makes its appearance, adding a bit more heat. Slower, and with about 5 kilometers to finish, I am overtaken by the 3h45m group. Nevertheless there is no much left and I can still try to improve the 3.49.46 of the 2020 edition.

Finally I reach the finish line with a net time of 3.47.29 (official 3.47.56), after spending 11 minutes more in the second half than in the first. I have just enough time to go to the hotel, take a quick shower and meet David, who takes me to Madrid by car, avoiding me a whole set of trains. Renfe’s 5% discount for runners isn’t much when they ask for €120 just to get from Valencia to Madrid.

Perfectly organized race, in which the Kenyan Yalemzerf Yahualaw, with 29.14, also smashed the 10k women’s world record. With this one, it is the second race in which we run, where a world record is broken, after the 2014 Berlin marathon.

Seven days to recover before the next marathon, in Bilbao…

SCORE: 5/5

The medal
Castelló Cathedral



For many runners completing a marathon is a remarkable achievement. However, for other runners, a marathon may become a routine activity.  These runners eventually reach a turning point when they decide to try new running experiences.

We will show some of the most uncommon ways of experimenting with running, that many of their practitioners define as addictive and revelatory.


Experimenting with running quantitites

Usually, the most common way of experimentation is increasing running distances, frequency, or both at the same time. Instead of setting the goal of getting a personal best, some runners try to finish more marathons than previously done or run marathons in consecutive days/weeks.

Some runners try the “run until you drop” format, where they run consecutively the distance in kilometres (or miles) corresponding to the date, starting from the first day of the month.

Ultrarunning would be another choice of experimentation with running quantities.


Experimenting with running environments

Runners search for races in extreme environmental settings. We could mention deserts, the Arctic, the Alps, the Grand Canyon or even the North Pole.

These races usually involve a self-sufficiency approach. Besides the obligatory equipment runners must usually carry their own supplies of food and water. Running becomes an adventure sport.

Other running options

  • Straight line running. This race format involves a GPS device and running the longest possible distance without deviating from a straight line by more than 100 meters. In the “escape” format runners start the race from the spot, heading in self-chosen directions. The winner is the runner who covers the longest distance within 24 hours, measured as a straight line on the map.
  • Fell-running. Sometimes called hill running is a mixture of cross-country running (but with steeper gradients), mountain running (but without predetermined routes), and orienteering.
  • Beer miles. It is s a 1-mile (1,609 m) race combining running and speed drinking, usually run on a standard 400 metres track. The race begins with the consumption of a 355 ml (12 US ounces) beer, followed by a lap around the track. This process is repeated every lap, until completion. World record is 4:28.1 (Corey Bellemore, Canada, October 2021).
  • Everesting. Pick any hill, anywhere, and repeats a single activity until climbing 8,848m, the equivalent height of Mt Everest.
  • Backyard ultra. In this race runners must consecutively run the distance of 6,706 meters (4.167 miles) in less than one hour. 24 laps are exactly 100 miles. When a lap is completed, the remaining time is used for recovery before the next hour’s race. The race ends when the last runner is unable to finish the distance within the hour. The record is 569.980 km (85 laps) (Harvey Lewis, Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra, October 2021).

Overall, many of these running experiences often involve feelings of pain, exhaustion, and self-transcendence, among others.

There are many ways of pushing your limits and intensify self-awareness, but whatever the reasons to experiment with your running, don´t forget its main goal: having fun.


                            The sky is the limit: run safe and be happy.



Bodies as Arenas of Experimentation: Experiencing Novel Ways of Running. Toomas Gross. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. August 1, 2021, Volume: 50 (4): 524-549


Stands of the Sociedad Sportiva Argentina

Athletics arrived in Argentina at the hands of the British, who organized the first athletic competitions in Buenos Aires in 1867. Important clubs at these early days were the Buenos Aires CC, Buenos Aires Athletic Sports, Zingari Cricket Club or the Amateur Athletic Association of the River Plate, among others.

The first marathon that was run on Argentine lands took place at 9am on October 4, 1903, starting and finishing in the Florida Garden, with a course around 40k. There were 30 runners, with victory for the 19-year-old Claudio Peralta in 3h02m10s.

Still a few years passed until the next marathon took place. Thus, on May 5, 1910, over 40.2k, a preparatory test for the Centenario celebrations was held in Buenos Aires. It was won by Ceferino Legria in 3h12m00s.

A few days later, on May 24, and already over the distance of 42,195k, was celebrated the so-called the Centenario Marathon. On the dirt track of the Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, and with only 8 runners, victory was for the Italian figure Dorando Pietri, famous since his marathon at the 1908 London Olympics. His time of 2h38m48s was a personal best, in which would become his last competition in the distance. He was accompanied on the podium by the Spanish marathon pioneer Antonio Creuz (2h45m04s) and the Argentinian Aníbal Carraro (2h54m09s). The other Spanish runner, Miguel Soto, finished 5th in 3h08m16s.

The 8 participants of the Maratón del Centenario, May 24 1910

After these first attempts over the marathon distance, the first one to be celebrated regularly was the Los Barrios Marathon. Organized by the magazine El Gráfico, it ran, with a few exceptions, between 1934 and 1975.

Thus, the seed of the marathon bore fruit in Argentine lands, appearing some of its most outstanding figures. At the Olympic level, we must highlight its champions Juan Carlos Zabala (Berlin 1932) and Delfo Cabrera (London 1948), and the runner-up, after the legendary Emil Zatopek, Reinaldo Gorno in Helsinki 1952.

Although no standing out at Olympic level, many other runners helped to maintain Argentina as a world power in the distance for several decades. A brief review would have to include José Ribas, Roger Ceballos, Armando Sensini, Raúl Ibarra and Osvaldo Suárez, among the most prominent.

Abebe Bikila’s victory in the 1960 Rome Olympics marathon marked the emergence of African athletes in the Philippides distance. This paradigm shift contributed to the end of the golden age of the Argentine marathon at international level.

Among the women, the first Argentine to complete a marathon was Iris Fernández. On September 23, 1979, he ran the 42,195 meters of the Waldniel Marathon (Germany) in 2h58m31s.

Currently the most popular marathon run in Argentina is the Buenos Aires Marathon, which has been held since 1984 with increasingly levels of participants and high-quality finishing times. The marathons of Mar del Plata, Mendoza or Rosario also deserve a special mention.

If we speak about Argentine marathon records, the men´s one is held since December 2021 by Joaquín Arbe, with his 2h09m36s obtained in Valencia last year. His time improved the previous record, which was in place since 1995, by Antonio Silio (2h09m57s). The women’s record is in the hands of Marcela Cristina Gómez, with her 2h28m58s obtained in the 2020 Seville marathon.

These recent results allow us to look with optimism to the Argentine marathon and continue a successful tradition in the 42k distance.



Juan Carlos Zabala
Delfo Cabrera
Reinaldo Gorno

ALMAGRO MARATHON (16/01/22 – 104)

Start/finish area

Almagro is a small size marathon, going for its 4th edition, organised perfectly by Miguel Ángel Muñoz Trapero. We already run Almagro in 2019, but at the end of June and at night-time, before it moved from the hot of summer to the coldness of a January morning in La Mancha.

Meeting Quique and co. in the bus, we arrive to Almagro after a long trip. With a start at 9am and -4⁰C we are about 60 participants there, between the marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay options. Many known faces, and just the time for a quick photo of the “four of Valladolid” (Quique, Pepe, Jaime “Nina” and myself) before the start.

The marathon course comprises 14 laps of a flat 3k loop. Not a fan of multi laps marathons before, it seems that the lockdown from 2 years ago changed this. If the loop offers some good views, is enough to keep oneself entertained. And so, it was.

With a clock at the start/finish time is easy to know the timing at each lap. Running on feelings I stay a loop with David, although a bit above my pace I decide to let him go. Jaime “Nina”, far ahead of most runners, already laps me for a second time when I finish my 7th and reach the half-marathon. At the end a marathon is a battle between you and your inner self, not so much against the other runners.

While keeping my cruise speed I continue completing laps. Heading towards the last four laps I feel that I can improve my 3h55m from Almagro 2019. Maybe the previous competition-free weeks left more energy in me. Enjoying the sunny weather and better temperature I cross the finish line in 3.42.41 (net time), 16th out of 47 finishers, in a race won by Nina in a stratospheric time of 2.41.58.

Happy with the result, that is my best marathon time in over 2 years, I hurry to the hotel to get a quick shower before catching a train back home.

That was marathon 104, and the 14th consecutive year running at least a sub 4h marathon. Next stop should be Castellón, the last marathon we run before the 2020 lockdown. It won´t be easy, but we will try to improve the 3.49.46 from then.

See you soon.

The four of Valladolid


Performance is affected by dehydration with some studies saying that even a 2% dehydration, expressed as body mass loss, is enough to alter performance negatively.

A recent study analysed the effects of hydration and cooling on performance during the Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships, held in hot and humid conditions.

To do so they surveyed the hydration and cooling strategies, body mass loss, and core and skin temperatures of 83 elite athletes.



  • 93% of endurance athletes had a drinking strategy, which included water (85%), electrolytes (83%) and carbohydrates (81%).
  • 80% of athletes planned pre-cooling, mainly using ice vests (53%) and cold towels (45%).
  • 93% of athletes used mid-cooling, mainly head/face water dousing (65%) and cold-water ingestion (52%).
  • Less common cooling interventions were ice slurry ingestion and menthol-based interventions.
  • Relative body mass loss was higher in men than women (-2.8% vs -1.3%), and not associated with performance outcome.
  • DNF had a higher pre-race skin temperature (33.8°C vs 32.6°C in finishers).
  • Within finishers a lower pre-race skin temperature was moderately associated with faster race completion.



  • Most athletes had a pre-planned drinking strategy, based mainly on personal experience.
  • Pre-race temperature management, including skin temperature, is important for endurance exercise in hot-humid conditions.


In hot conditions hydrate properly and keep your temperature low to improve your performance and chances of finishing a race.



Hydration and cooling in elite athletes: relationship with performance, body mass loss and body temperatures during the Doha 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships. Racinais S, Ihsan M, Taylor L, et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2021;55:1335-1341.