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J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Dec;30(6):529-35.

Race diet of finishers and non-finishers in a 100 mile (161 km) mountain footrace.

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  • 1Health Sciences Department, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325, USA.



To determine if food and fluid intake is related to completion of a 161-km ultramarathon.


Sixteen consenting runners in the Western States Endurance Run participated in the study. Race diets were analyzed using Nutritionist Pro software. Both total intake and intake by race segment (3 total) were evaluated.


Six of 16 subjects completed the race (finishers) in 27.0 ± 2.3 hours (mean ± SD). Non-finishers completed 96.5 ± 20.5 km in 17.0 ± 3.9 h. Overall consumption rates of kilocalories, carbohydrate, fat, and sodium were significantly greater (P < 0.05) in finishers (4.6 ± 1.7 kcal/kg/h, 0.98 ± 0.43 g carbohydrate/kg/h, 0.06 ± 0.03 g fat/kg/h, 10.2 ± 6.0 mg sodium/kg/h) versus non-finishers (2.5 ± 1.3 kcal/kg/h, 0.56 ± 0.32 g carbohydrate/kg/h, 0.02 ± 0.02 g fat/kg/h, 5.2 ± 3.0 mg sodium/kg/h). Kilocalorie, fat, fluid, and sodium consumption rates during segment 1 (first 48 km) were significantly greater in finishers than in non-finishers.


Completion of this 161-km race was related to greater fuel, fluid, and sodium consumption rates. However, intake ranges for the finishers were large, so factors other than race diet may have contributed to the successful completion of the race.

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