For some reason, every year a few dozen runners dash from southern Italy all the way to the North Cape of Norway, in what’s called the TransEurope-FootRace. It takes about two months to cover the almost 2,800 miles, about 45 miles a day.
In the 2009 edition, 44 of the 66 participants allowed themselves to be examined medically throughout. The findings were presented November 29th at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago. And some of the discoveries may be of use to the less ambitious among us.
Muscle volume of the legs actually went down 7 percent because of the incredible energy consumption of the daily distances. And some leg injuries were found to be safe to run through. It was okay to keep going with simple leg muscle inflammation, for example. But other overuse injuries, like joint inflammation, carried a greater risk of worsening. Runners lost 40 percent of their body fat in the first half of the race and 50 percent altogether. Beginning runners can likewise expect to see a rapid fat loss at first. And you get to stop before reaching Norway.