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Marathon Tale We Can All Learn From

These events are a recollection of the last 10k in the 2008 Plus Budapest Marathon. Now that marathon season is upon us we suggest you take a few moments to learn from someone else's mistakes.

Let us set the scene: 10 km from the finish line, a northern wind had forced five of us to line up in a neat row of diligent geese. A battle of the elements, truly. I was following a Slovakian runner, whose coach/trainer/assistant had just caught up with us to give him a power bar. Although we were not racing for first place or a cash prize, a race is a race, and he was my opponent. As he was running in front of me I had a chance to watch closely what he did and most importantly what he did not do. So I knew that he had not drank enough water! At the point in which he consumed the power bar, I knew that we did not have to count on him to cross the finish line with us. Somewhere around the Budapest Parliament, our friend tapped out. The next time I saw him was during the cool down, a long while after the rest of our geese row had crossed the finish line.

Runner is taking refreshment

Had he read the instructions on the back of the powerbar gel, maybe his thermo-regualtion and power supply system would not have failed him. It was shown on the packaging that it was meant to be taken alongside 400ml of water, so that it could produce an isotonic effect in the stomach density (Isotonic = same density as blood plasma, ideal for osmosis)! Instead of this our dear friend has mixed himself a “lethal” combination in his stomach. His mistake become “lethal” when the ingested substance was too dense for thermo-regualtion. The water could not be absorbed from the digestive tract, and due to the usual early autumn heat and the drying wind, the heat of the muscular work already had a difficulty to be released into the environment.

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