Send to

Choose Destination
Springerplus. 2014 Oct 17;3:608. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-608. eCollection 2014.

Physiological alterations after a marathon in the first 90-year-old male finisher: case study.

Author information

Exercise Physiology Lab, Institute of Human Movement Sciences, ETH Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
Institute of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Pestalozzistrasse 24, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.



Endurance performance decreases during ageing due to alterations in physiological characteristics, energy stores, and psychological factors. To investigate alterations in physiological characteristics and body composition of elderly master athletes in response to an extreme endurance event, we present the case of the first ninety-year-old official male marathon finisher.


Before and directly after the marathon, a treadmill incremental test, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, peripheral quantitative computed tomography, mechanography, and dynamometry measurements were conducted. The athlete finished the marathon in 6 h 48 min 55 s, which corresponds to an average competition speed of 6.19 km h(-1).


Before the marathon, [Formula: see text] was 31.5 ml min(-1) kg(-1) body mass and peak heart rate was 140 beats min(-1). Total fat mass increased in the final preparation phase (+3.4%), while leg fat mass and leg lean mass were slightly reduced after the marathon (-3.7 and -1.6%, respectively). Countermovement jump (CMJ) peak power and peak velocity decreased after the marathon (-16.5 and -14.7%, respectively). Total impulse during CMJ and energy cost of running were not altered by the marathon. In the left leg, maximal voluntary ground reaction force (F m1LH) and maximal isometric voluntary torque (MIVT) were impaired after the marathon (-12.2 and -14.5%, respectively).


Side differences in F m1LH and MIVT could be attributed to the distinct non-symmetrical running pattern of the athlete. Similarities in alterations in leg composition and CMJ performance existed between the nonagenarian athlete and young marathon runners. In contrast, alterations in total body composition and m1LH performance were markedly different in the nonagenarian athlete when compared to his younger counterparts.


Countermovement jump; Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; Impulse; Multiple one-legged hopping; Peripheral quantitative computed tomography

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center