Background/Objective: Adventure racing is an ultra-endurance activity that imposes a unique multifaceted stress on the human body. The purpose of this field study was to examine the physiological responses to a 5-day adventure race.
Methods: Eight competitors, two teams (1 female each) in the 2012 GODZone adventure race volunteered. Competitors trekked, cycled and paddled ∼326 km in ∼116 hours. Continuous glucose was measured the day before and throughout. Body mass, urinary solutes, and blood pressure and heart rate during resting, standing, and repeated squat-stand conditions, were assessed pre and post.
Results: Despite no changes in mean blood glucose levels, there was increased glycemic variability (Standard deviation glucose; Pre: 0.5 ± 0.1 vs Race: 1.0 ± 0.2 mmol/L, p = 0.02) and periods of hypoglycemia (i.e., Min glucose Pre: 4.1 ± 0.3 vs Race: 3.6 ± 0.5 mmol/L, p = 0.05) during the race. After the race, the blood pressure during resting, standing and squat-stand conditions was significantly lower, by 14 ± 14 mmHg, 16 ± 15 mmHg and 18 ± 15 mmHg (all p < 0.05), respectively, with no change in heart rate. During five-days of adventure racing there is increased glycemic variability and more frequent periods of low blood glucose levels. Additionally, following the race pronounced hypotension is observed in competitors.
Conclusion: We observed more frequent glucose fluctuations, lower glucose levels and significant perturbations in blood pressure control. Further research is warranted to examine the long-term impact of adventure racing on metabolic and cardiovascular function.