"The fact that ultra-distance running places stress on the body has been well documented," said Uwe Schutz, from the University Hospital of Ulm in Germany.

"Our research provides detailed information on how the various organ systems change and adapt in response to that stress," said Schutz.
The Trans Europe Foot Race (TEFR) took place from April 19 to June 21, 2009. It entailed running 4,487 km starting in southern Italy and ending in the North Cape in Norway without any day of rest. Forty-four of the runners (66 percent) participated in the study.
The results showed that with exception to the patellar joint, nearly all cartilage segments of knee, ankle and hind-foot joints showed a significant degradation within the first 1,500 to 2,500 kilometres of the race.
MRI study of the soft tissues and bones of the ultra-runners' feet showed a significant increase of the diameter of the Achilles tendon.
The researchers also looked at how ultra marathon running affects brain volume. Baseline comparison of TEFR participants and controls showed no significant differences in grey matter volume.


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