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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1998 Mar;38(1):18-23.

Ultra-triathlon-related blood-chemical and endocrinological responses in nine athletes.

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Department of Sports Medicine, University Medical Hospital Freiburg, Germany.



Objective of this study was to get more insight in hematology, biochemistry, and endocrinology of ultra-endurance exercise, to improve knowledge in this field, supplementation, and medical care of affected athletes.


A large body of individual hematological, biochemical, and endocrinological parameters was analyzed in the blood taken from ultra-athletes before and after completing the 1993 Colmar ultra triathlon covering 7.5 km swimming, 360 km cycling, and approximately 85 km running.


Nine experienced ultra-athletes participated in the study. A follow-up was not possible since the athletes left Colmar within 24 hrs after the contest.


The athletes finished the ultra-contest at rankings 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 18, 22, 23 in a total time between 23:38:53 and 27:54:30 hr:min:sec. Their final body mass (68.6 +/- 1 kg) was significantly lower than at baseline (71.9 +/- 4.2 kg). Non of the athletes made use of medical care. Data after this contest reflect mild hyponatremia, intravascular hemolysis, increased triglyceride turnover, acute-phase reaction, hyperaldosteronemia 2061 +/- 1013 pmol.L-1), hypercortisolemia 971 +/- 486 nmol.L-1), hyper-growth-hormonemia (median 6.8, hypoinsulinemia, hypo-free-testosteronemia (42 +/- 17 pmol.L-1), protein catabolism, depressed testicular function, oliguria, and muscle cell leakage.


In our opinion, data presented do not reflect any acute health risks in healthy athletes who are well prepared and carefully supplied during such a contest.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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