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Open AccessCase Report

To Be a Champion of the 24-h Ultramarathon Race. If Not the Heart ... Mosaic Theory?

1
Center for Sports Cardiology, Gajda-Med Medical Center in Pułtusk, 06-100 Pułtusk, Poland
2
Department of Pedagogy and Psychology of Physical Culture, Faculty of Physical Education, Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Marymoncka St. 34, 00-968 Warsaw, Poland
3
Department of Applied and Clinical Physiology, Collegium Medicum University of Zielona Gora, 28 Zyty St., 65-417 Zielona Gora, Poland
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Department of Kinesiology, Institute of Sport, 2 Trylogii St., 01-982 Warsaw, Poland
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Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, Pawinskiego 5a Street, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland
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Laboratory of Neurogenetics, Mossakowski Medical Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Pawinskiego 5, 02-106 Warszawa, Poland
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The Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński National Institute of Cardiology, ul. Alpejska 42, 04-628 Warszawa, Poland
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Department of Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Health, Medical University of Lodz, ul. Lucjana Żeligowskiego 7/9, 90-752 Łódź, Poland
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Faculty of Medicine, Collegium Medicum, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Kazimierza Wóycickiego 1/3, 01-938 Warsaw, Poland
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Institute of Primary Care, University of Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland
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Medbase St. Gallen Am Vadianplatz, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland
12
Department of Theory of Sport, Faculty of Physical Education, Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Marymoncka St. 34, 00-968 Warsaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zbigniew Waśkiewicz and Luca Paolo Ardigo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2371; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052371
Received: 22 December 2020 / Revised: 16 February 2021 / Accepted: 24 February 2021 / Published: 1 March 2021
This comprehensive case analysis aimed to identify the features enabling a runner to achieve championship in 24-h ultramarathon (UM) races. A 36-year-old, multiple medalist of the World Championships in 24-h running, was assessed before, one and 10 days after a 24-h run. Results of his extensive laboratory and cardiological diagnostics with transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and a one-time cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) were analyzed. After 12 h of running (approximately 130 km), the athlete experienced an increasing pain in the right knee. His baseline clinical data were within the normal range. High physical efficiency in CPET (VO2max 63 mL/kg/min) was similar to the average achieved by other ultramarathoners who had significantly worse results. Thus, we also performed genetic tests and assessed his psychological profile, body composition, and markers of physical and mental stress (serotonin, cortisol, epinephrine, prolactin, testosterone, and luteinizing hormone). The athlete had a mtDNA haplogroup H (HV0a1 subgroup, belonging to the HV cluster), characteristic of athletes with the highest endurance. Psychological studies have shown high and very high intensity of the properties of individual scales of the tools used mental resilience (62–100% depending on the scale), openness to experience (10th sten), coherence (10th sten), positive perfectionism (100%) and overall hope for success score (10th sten). The athlete himself considers the commitment and mental support of his team to be a significant factor of his success. Body composition assessment (%fat 13.9) and the level of stress markers were unremarkable. The tested athlete showed a number of features of the champions of ultramarathon runs, such as: inborn predispositions, mental traits, level of training, and resistance to pain. However, none of these features are reserved exclusively for “champions”. Team support’s participation cannot be underestimated. The factors that guarantee the success of this elite 24-h UM runner go far beyond physiological and psychological explanations. Further studies are needed to identify individual elements of the putative “mosaic theory of being a champion”. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultramarathon; mental and physical stress markers; VO2max; polymorphism; psychological features; pain resistance; body composition; cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET); team support; winner’s gen ultramarathon; mental and physical stress markers; VO2max; polymorphism; psychological features; pain resistance; body composition; cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET); team support; winner’s gen
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gajda, R.; Samełko, A.; Czuba, M.; Piotrowska-Nowak, A.; Tońska, K.; Żekanowski, C.; Klisiewicz, A.; Drygas, W.; Gębska-Kuczerowska, A.; Gajda, J.; Knechtle, B.; Adamczyk, J.G. To Be a Champion of the 24-h Ultramarathon Race. If Not the Heart ... Mosaic Theory? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2371. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052371

AMA Style

Gajda R, Samełko A, Czuba M, Piotrowska-Nowak A, Tońska K, Żekanowski C, Klisiewicz A, Drygas W, Gębska-Kuczerowska A, Gajda J, Knechtle B, Adamczyk JG. To Be a Champion of the 24-h Ultramarathon Race. If Not the Heart ... Mosaic Theory? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(5):2371. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052371

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gajda, Robert; Samełko, Aleksandra; Czuba, Miłosz; Piotrowska-Nowak, Agnieszka; Tońska, Katarzyna; Żekanowski, Cezary; Klisiewicz, Anna; Drygas, Wojciech; Gębska-Kuczerowska, Anita; Gajda, Jacek; Knechtle, Beat; Adamczyk, Jakub G. 2021. "To Be a Champion of the 24-h Ultramarathon Race. If Not the Heart ... Mosaic Theory?" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 5: 2371. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052371

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