This study examined the effect of magnesium supplementation on muscle magnesium content, on running performance during a 42-km marathon footrace, and on muscle damage and the rate of recovery of muscle function following the race. Twenty athletes were divided equally into two matched groups and were studied for 4 weeks before and 6 weeks after a marathon in a double-blind trial; the experimental group received magnesium supplement (365 mg per day) and the control group, placebo. Magnesium supplementation did not increase either muscle or serum magnesium concentrations and had no measurable effect on 42-km marathon running performance. Extra magnesium ingestion also had no influence on the extent of muscle damage or the rate of recovery of muscle function. The latter was significantly reduced immediately after the marathon but returned to normal within 1 week. Thus, magnesium supplementation in magnesium-replete subjects did not enhance performance or increase resistance to muscle damage during the race, or the rate of recovery of muscle function following the race.