Thursday, June 02, 2016

A proposition with which I have complete sympathy

Running a marathon is a dangerous, expensive, stupid, meaningless task. Don’t do it.

Here's a key section (not sure if I was writing it that I would bother including figures for "chafing", though):
Indeed a vast, disturbing literature has now accumulated on the ill effects of running marathons. Studies find that up to 1 in 12 participants end up seeking medical help during the race. (At
hot-weather events, runners can end up “dropping like flies.”) As many as four-fifths report having gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and fecal incontinence while on the course. Some runners suffer from blood poisoning. Others must endure a blitz of dermatological conditions: sore nipples (affecting up to 1 in 6 on race day); chafing (another 1 in 6); blisters (1 in 3); and jogger’s toe (1 in 40). Given all the risks, it’s no wonder that some marathon organizers have asked doctors to embed as race participants so they can quickly tend to runners who collapse.
When researchers consider all the injuries that accrue during the period of training—and not just on the day of the marathon itself—they find even greater cause for alarm. One study looked at 255 participants in an extended, 32-week marathon training program and found that 90 of them—that’s 35 percent—experienced “overuse” injuries. (Among the most common training ailments are anterior knee pain, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, and stress fractures.) Another research group surveyed 725 men who raced in the 2005 Rotterdam Marathon, and found that more than half of them had sustained a running injury over the course of the year. Among those who sustained a new injury during the month leading up to the race, one-quarter were still suffering, to some extent, three months later.

1 comment:

John said...

For all the talk about the benefits of playing sport it is also a leading cause of injury. As a friend once said to me: on weekends many emergency departments are filled with sports related injuries. More worryingly studies from Canada and the USA point to contact sports like ice hockey and grid iron as being in the top 3 leading causes of brain injury in teenagers.

Sport is not an optimal means of maintaining fitness and health. It costs too much to play sport and the injury risk is too high. Aerobic training requires a pair of shoes and all middle aged people should be doing strength training because a leading cause of disability for those over 70 is sarcopenia and there is no treatment for that.

As for marathon running it was always obvious that placing so much stress on the body was not healthy. There are now a number of studies showing that elite endurance athletes have elevated risks for At. Fib and heart failure.