Special Issue "The Marathon: Environmental and Public Health Aspects"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Veronique Billat
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Paris Institute of Sports-Health Sciences, University of Paris, 75006 Paris, France
Interests: physiology of exercise; science of training
Dr. Damien Vitiello
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
School of Sport Sciences, University of Paris, 75015 Paris, France
Interests: cardiac physiology and pathophysiology; exercise; health; heart failure; cardiac ischemia; hypoxia
Dr. Johnathan Edwards
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Assistant Guest Editor
Anesthesiology in Port Orange, FL, USA
Interests: sports medicine; marathon; triathlon; nutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Every year, the New York, London, Berlin, and Paris marathons each attract around 30,000 to 50,000 adult runners of all levels. The increasing popularity of road running is typified by the emergence of recreational marathon runners who complete the 42.195 km event in a time of between 2 hr 40 min and 4 hr 40 min. The marathon’s potentially negative impact on cardiac status and the occurrence of sudden cardiac deaths during this type of event have prompted much debate. An increasing number of recreational marathon runners are now using data from HR and speed monitors in an attempt to pace their effort. There are currently no guidelines on how to use these variables to optimize performance. Most of these runners are recreational athletes. Even if more and more studies show that self-paced exercise can achieve the best performance, many runners train alone and hope to progress by monitoring their heart rate and/or running speed. There is a necessity for pollution sensors that could allow the runner to regulate his running pace and it is important to ask the question of the impact of the urban environment on the health of marathon runners in the context of competition and daily training. Articles dealing with these topics of optimizing urban marathon running from a health and performance perspective are welcome in this Special Issue.

Prof. Veronique Billat
Dr. Damien Vitiello
Dr. Jonathan Edwards
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Marathon
  • pollution
  • oxygen uptake
  • downtown running
  • cardiac health

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Peripheral Alterations Affect the Loss in Force after a Treadmill Downhill Run
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 8135; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18158135 - 31 Jul 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
Downhill running has an important effect on performance in trail running competitions, but it is less studied than uphill running. The purpose of this study was to investigate the cardiorespiratory response during 15 min of downhill running (DR) and to evaluate the neuromuscular [...] Read more.
Downhill running has an important effect on performance in trail running competitions, but it is less studied than uphill running. The purpose of this study was to investigate the cardiorespiratory response during 15 min of downhill running (DR) and to evaluate the neuromuscular consequences in a group of trail runners. Before and after a 15-min DR trial (slope: −25%) at ~60% of maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max), we evaluated maximal voluntary contraction torque (MVCt) and muscle contractility in a group of seventeen trail running athletes. Additionally, during the DR trial, we measured V̇O2 and heart rate (HR). V̇O2 and HR increased as a function of time, reaching +19.8 ± 15.9% (p < 0.001; ES: 0.49, medium) and +15.3 ± 9.9% (p < 0.001; ES: 0.55, large), respectively, in the last minute of DR. Post-exercise, the MVCt decreased (−22.2 ± 12.0%; p < 0.001; ES = 0.55, large) with respect to the pre-exercise value. All the parameters related to muscle contractility were impaired after DR: the torque evoked by a potentiated high frequency doublet decreased (−28.5 ± 12.7%; p < 0.001; ES: 0.61, large), as did the torque response from the single-pulse stimulation (St, −41.6 ± 13.6%; p < 0.001; ES: 0.70, large) and the M-wave (−11.8 ± 12.1%; p < 0.001; ES: 0.22, small). We found that after 15 min of DR, athletes had a decreased MVCt, which was ascribed mainly to peripheral rather than central alterations. Additionally, during low-intensity DR exercise, muscle fatigue and exercise-induced muscle damage may contribute to the development of O2 and HR drift. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Marathon: Environmental and Public Health Aspects)
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Article
Pace Controlled by a Steady-State Physiological Variable Is Associated with Better Performance in a 3000 M Run
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7886; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18157886 - 26 Jul 2021
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Abstract
This paper aims to test the hypothesis whereby freely chosen running pace is less effective than pace controlled by a steady-state physiological variable. Methods Eight runners performed four maximum-effort 3000 m time trials on a running track. The first time trial (TT1) was [...] Read more.
This paper aims to test the hypothesis whereby freely chosen running pace is less effective than pace controlled by a steady-state physiological variable. Methods Eight runners performed four maximum-effort 3000 m time trials on a running track. The first time trial (TT1) was freely paced. In the following 3000 m time trials, the pace was controlled so that the average speed (TT2), average V˙O2 (TT3) or average HR (TT4) recorded in TT1 was maintained throughout the time trial. Results: Physiologically controlled pace was associated with a faster time (mean ± standard deviation: 740 ± 34 s for TT3 and 748 ± 33 s for TT4, vs. 854 ± 53 s for TT1; p < 0.01), a lower oxygen cost of running (200 ± 5 and 220 ± 3 vs. 310 ± 5 mLO2·kg−1·km−1, respectively; p < 0.02), a lower cardiac cost (0.69 ± 0.08 and 0.69 ± 0.04 vs. 0.86 ± 0.09 beat·m−1, respectively; p < 0.01), and a more positively skewed speed distribution (skewness: 1.7 ± 0.9 and 1.3 ± 0.6 vs. 0.2 ± 0.4, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Physiologically controlled pace (at the average V˙O2 or HR recorded in a freely paced run) was associated with a faster time, a more favorable speed distribution and lower levels of physiological strain, relative to freely chosen pace. This finding suggests that non-elite runners do not spontaneously choose the best pace strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Marathon: Environmental and Public Health Aspects)
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Article
The Carbon Footprint of Marathon Runners: Training and Racing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2769; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052769 - 09 Mar 2021
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Abstract
Marathon running leaves a significant carbon footprint regarding CO2 emissions; for example, 37 percent of New York Marathon participants travel internationally to New York. The aim of this study is to estimate the CO2 footprint of a person training and competing [...] Read more.
Marathon running leaves a significant carbon footprint regarding CO2 emissions; for example, 37 percent of New York Marathon participants travel internationally to New York. The aim of this study is to estimate the CO2 footprint of a person training and competing in a marathon; we will also propose methods to minimize the CO2 footprint because of transportation. In addition, we also examine the influence of food practices and hygiene on training and racing a marathon. Methods: We estimated the annual carbon footprint of one person taking part in a marathon. We considered all training, racing, and travelling (local and international) for one person (we are going to give him the first name of “Henri”), and then compared his CO2 footprint with his colleagues playing tennis and soccer. The excess CO2 footprint whilst running and for shoes, clothing, books, magazines, insurance, travel, hygiene, laundry, and resources for electronics and additional food consumed were calculated. For competitions, we estimated and compared the CO2 emission from transportation to national vs. international marathon (New York). Results: We estimated that our runner emitted 4.3 tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e), including all greenhouse gases. A transatlantic flight to New York corresponded to 3.5 tons CO2, which is 83% of the annual carbon footprint of an average French citizen which is about 11 tons CO2e/year. This leads to a sudden 40% increase in Henri’s annual carbon footprint. Conclusions: By focusing on the additional carbon footprint from one year of marathon training and racing, and traveling locally versus internationally, this sport still has a potentially significant carbon footprint that runners and race organizers ought to consider. We wanted to answer a growing question of marathon runners who are wondering about the carbon footprint of their sports practice in following with a new environmentalist trend that considers not traveling anymore to participate in marathons and to stay local. However, the representativeness in the selection of calculation objectives is very low. There is no need for statistics since this study is a theoretical simulation of traditional training and competition practices of marathon runners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Marathon: Environmental and Public Health Aspects)
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Article
Maximal Time Spent at VO2max from Sprint to the Marathon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9250; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249250 - 10 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Until recently, it was thought that maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) was elicited only in middle-distance events and not the sprint or marathon distances. We tested the hypothesis that VO2max can be elicited in both the sprint and marathon distances and [...] Read more.
Until recently, it was thought that maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) was elicited only in middle-distance events and not the sprint or marathon distances. We tested the hypothesis that VO2max can be elicited in both the sprint and marathon distances and that the fraction of time spent at VO2max is not significantly different between distances. Methods: Seventy-eight well-trained males (mean [SD] age: 32 [13]; weight: 73 [9] kg; height: 1.80 [0.8] m) performed the University of Montreal Track Test using a portable respiratory gas sampling system to measure a baseline VO2max. Each participant ran one or two different distances (100 m, 200 m, 800 m, 1500 m, 3000 m, 10 km or marathon) in which they are specialists. Results: VO2max was elicited and sustained in all distances tested. The time limit (Tlim) at VO2max on a relative scale of the total time (Tlim at VO2max%Ttot) during the sprint, middle-distance, and 1500 m was not significantly different (p > 0.05). The relevant time spent at VO2max was only a factor for performance in the 3000 m group, where the Tlim at VO2max%Ttot was the highest (51.4 [18.3], r = 0.86, p = 0.003). Conclusions: By focusing on the solicitation of VO2max, we demonstrated that the maintenance of VO2max is possible in the sprint, middle, and marathon distances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Marathon: Environmental and Public Health Aspects)
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Article
Post-Exercise Hypotension and Reduced Cardiac Baroreflex after Half-Marathon Run: In Men, but Not in Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6337; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17176337 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 737
Abstract
We examined whether trained women exhibit similar cardiovascular and cardiac baroreflex alterations after a half-marathon compared to men. Thirteen women (39.1 ± 9.3 years; 165 ± 6 cm; 58.2 ± 7.5 kg; maximal aerobic speed (MAS): 13.7 ± 2.2 km·h−1) and [...] Read more.
We examined whether trained women exhibit similar cardiovascular and cardiac baroreflex alterations after a half-marathon compared to men. Thirteen women (39.1 ± 9.3 years; 165 ± 6 cm; 58.2 ± 7.5 kg; maximal aerobic speed (MAS): 13.7 ± 2.2 km·h−1) and 12 men (45.7 ± 10.5 years; 178 ± 7 cm; 75.0 ± 8.3 kg; MAS: 15.8 ± 2.2 km·h−1) ran an official half-marathon. Before and 60-min after, cardiovascular variables, parasympathetic (heart rate variability analysis) modulation and cardiac baroreflex function (transfer function and sequence analyses) were assessed during supine rest and a squat-stand test. Running performance was slower in women than in men (120 ± 19 vs. 104 ± 14 min for women and men, respectively). However, when expressed as a percentage of MAS, it was similar (78.1 ± 4.6% and 78.2 ± 5.4% of MAS for women and men, respectively). Before the run, women exhibited lower mean blood pressure (BP), cardiac output (CO) and stroke volume (SV) compared to men, together with higher parasympathetic indexes. After the race, parasympathetic indexes decreased in both sexes, but remained higher in women. Reduced SV, systolic BP and cardiac baroreflex were observed in men but not in women. Contrary to men, a competitive half-marathon did not trigger post-exercise hypotension and a reduced cardiac baroreflex in women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Marathon: Environmental and Public Health Aspects)
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Review

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Review
Marathon-Induced Cardiac Fatigue: A Review over the Last Decade for the Preservation of the Athletes’ Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8676; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18168676 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 421
Abstract
Aim: To provide a state-of-the-art review of the last 10 years focusing on cardiac fatigue following a marathon. Methods: The PubMed, Bookshelf and Medline databases were queried during a time span of 10 years to identify studies that met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-four [...] Read more.
Aim: To provide a state-of-the-art review of the last 10 years focusing on cardiac fatigue following a marathon. Methods: The PubMed, Bookshelf and Medline databases were queried during a time span of 10 years to identify studies that met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-four studies focusing only on the impact of marathons on the cardiac function and factors involved in cardiac fatigue were included in this review. Results: Sixteen studies focused on the impact of marathons on several biomarkers (e.g., C-reactive protein, cardiac troponin T). Seven studies focused on the left (LV) or right (RV) ventricular function following a marathon and employed cardiac magnetic resonance, echocardiography, myocardial speckle tracking and heart rate variability to analyze global and regional LV or RV mechanics and the impact of the autonomic nervous system on cardiac function. One study focused on serum profiling and its association with cardiac changes after a marathon. Conclusions: This review reported a negligible impact of marathons on LV and RV systolic and contractile function but a negative impact on LV diastolic function in recreational runners. These impairments are often associated with acute damage to the myocardium. Thus, the advice of the present review to athletes is to adapt their training and have a regular medical monitoring to continue to run marathons while preserving their cardiac health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Marathon: Environmental and Public Health Aspects)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: A Marathoner's Carbon Footprint: from Training to the Competition
Authors: Veronique Billat
Affiliation: Paris Institute of Sports-Health Sciences, University of Paris, Paris,France

Title: Post-exercise hypotension and reduced cardiac baroreflex after half-marathon run: in men, but not in women
Authors: Laurent Mourot; Alessandro Fornasiero; Mark Rakobowchuk; Laurie Isacco; Alfredo Brighenti; Federico Stella; Andrea Zignoli; Barbara Pellegrini; Cantor Tarperi; Federico Schena
Affiliation: EA3920 Prognostic Factors and Regulatory Factors of Cardiac and Vascular Pathologies, Exercise Performance Health Innovation (EPHI) platform, University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Besançon, France National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk, Russia
Abstract: We examined whether trained women exhibit similar cardiovascular and cardiac baroreflex alterations after a half-marathon compared to men. Thirteen women (39.1±9.3 yr; 165±6 cm; 58.2±7.5 kg; maximal aerobic speed (MAS): 13.7±2.2 km.h-1) and 12 men (45.7±10.5 yr; 178±7 cm; 75.0±8.3 kg; MAS: 15.8±2.2 km.h-1) ran an official half-marathon. Before and 1-hour after the race, cardiovascular variables, parasympathetic (heart rate variability analysis) modulation and cardiac baroreflex function (sequence and transfer function analyses) were assessed during supine rest and a squat-stand test. Running performance was slower in women than men (120±19 vs. 104±14 min for women and men, respectively). However, as express as percentage of MAS, it was similar (78.1±4.6 % and 78.2±5.4 % of MAS for women and men, respectively). Before the run, women exhibited lower mean blood pressure (BP), cardiac output (CO) and stroke volume (SV) compared to men, together with higher parasympathetic indexes. After the race, parasympathetic indexes decreased in both sexes but remained higher in women. Reduced SV, systolic BP and cardiac baroreflex were observed in men but not in women. Contrary to men, a competitive half-marathon did not trigger post-exercise hypotension and a reduced cardiac baroreflex in women.

Title: The impact of marathon on cardiac health since mid-december
Authors: Damien Vitiello
Affiliation: School of Sport Sciences, University of Paris, Paris, France

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