Al Andalus Ultra Trail: an observation of medical interventions during a 219-km, 5-day ultramarathon stage race

Clin J Sport Med. 2011 Sep;21(5):444-6. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318225b0df.


Objective: To record the injuries and health problems suffered by ultramarathon runners during a 219-km, 5-day stage race and to help race organizers plan medical provision for these events.

Design: Observational study.

Setting: Al Andalus Ultra Trail 2010, in southern Spain.

Participants: All 69 ultramarathon runners.

Main outcome measures: Total numbers and percentages of each clinical encounter with a health professional and their respective health problems.

Results: Sixty-nine competitors started the race, and 39 runners were seen with a medical problem (56.5%). There were a total of 99 clinical encounters. The most common reasons for consulting were foot blisters (33.3%), followed by chafing (9.1%). Lower limb musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 22.2%, predominantly affecting the knee.

Conclusions: This is the first report of a multistage ultramarathon race where medical coverage was present throughout and has reported on musculoskeletal, dermatological, and other medical problems. When providing medical coverage for stage events, the medical team needs to promote practices that minimize injury and address both running-related injuries and non-running-related injuries, taking account of environmental conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blister / etiology
  • Female
  • Foot Injuries / etiology*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Intertrigo / etiology
  • Lower Extremity / injuries*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance
  • Running / injuries*
  • Skin / injuries*