Extreme exercise: an expert opinion
The popularity of ultraendurance events is growing, but are they good for you?
The popularity of marathons and triathlons has boomed in recent years. Mass participation in endurance events, such as marathons in London, New York, Boston, Berlin, and Chicago, and Olympic distance triathlons, are now commonplace and are a feat aspired to and realised by millions of people worldwide each year.
The world of the ultraendurance participant is slightly different. In a linked article, Charles Tweed, a third year medical student at Newcastle University, shares his experience of attempting a non-stop running race from Birmingham to London, a distance of 145 miles (233 km).1
Participation in ultraendurance events is on the increase. Ultramarathons, such as the Comrades Marathon (a 90 km race in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) and the ironman triathlons (a 3.8 km swim, 180 km cycle, and a 42.2 km run) make the 26.2 mile marathon seem a walk in the park. Even more extreme events, such as the Marathon des